San Antonio’s CPS Energy and SunEdison recently completed a 10 megawatt photovoltaic project, the last series of three projects leading to a total of 30 MWs of photovoltaics for San Antonio, Texas. Each of the installations has benefited a local educational institution with the last benefiting the local Somerset Independent School District (ISD). The projects are part of CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy project, which aims to have 1,500 MWs of renewable energy installed in the region by 2020.
The latest project is the 10 megawatt,124-acre Somerset Solar Farm, which is on trackers to help it collect more sunlight. The project will produce enough electricity to power about 1,600 homes. The two other parts of the project were the Centennial Solar Farms 1 & 2 completed in June in south Bexar County at the San Antonio Water System Dos Rios Water Recycling Center. All projects were financed by Citi.
As part of all three projects, SunEdison made contributions to local educational efforts. For the Somerset project it donated $100,000 to the Somerset ISD Foundation. Previously it contributed a total of $300,000 to the University of Texas at San Antonio and Alamo Colleges, said CPS Energy spokesperson Yvonne Casanova.
In all CPS Energy, a municipal utility among the largest in the U.S., now has 44.8 MWs of solar generating capacity. But it has a lot more, 400 MWs planned as part of its program. “Those 400 megawatts are what we’re focusing on right now,” Casanova said. The program also includes building PV manufacturing locally. For that aspect of the utility’s goals, it has signed with OCI Solar, a subsidiary of Korean-based OCI Enterprises, Inc. to build PV modules with its partner Nexelon. The manufacturing is expected to create 800 local jobs and generate $700 million in annual local revenue.
The utility will also add in other forms of renewable energy to its power mix. “We do have a very diversified portfolio and we will increase that as part of our new energy economy,” Casanova said. Among them are the 1,059 MWs of wind it has under contract. She said the utility could consider more projects in the future.