San Antonio reminds US everything’s bigger in Texas, including solar


A brownfield-based PV arrayUnder a deal between CPS Energy and OCI Solar Power, San Antonio will soon have 400 megawatts of photovoltaics installed, making it the largest municipally-owned photovoltaic project in the U.S. With the partnership OCI Solar, a subsidiary of Korean-based OCI Enterprises, Inc., OCI will move its U.S. headquarters to San Antonio and establish manufacturing facilities with partners, including Nexolon, there.

In all, the partnership is anticipated to create more than 800 long-term jobs, bringing an estimated $700 million in local economic gains annually. OCI’s partner, Nexolon, will build manufacturing facilities in San Antonio. “Nexolon, our manufacturing partner and a leading international manufacturer of mono and multicrystalline solar wafers, will make various parts used in solar panels in the San Antonio facility,” said recently announced OCI Solar Power President Tony Dorazio. “These parts will be used all over the region and country in solar projects and development.”

However, OCI will develop the first phase of its project with San Antonio, a 50 megawatt PV plant before Nexolon can build its facilities out. Completion of that phase is expected in 2013. The remaining for phases will be supplied by Nexolon’s local plants, starting with the 35 megawatt phase 2 facility. The remaining facilities will each be 105 megawatts, according to Dorazio.

“OCI Solar Power is now headquartered in San Antonio and that location will remain our hub for supplying other projects and activities throughout the country,” Dorazio said. OCI Solar Power will use the new facilities to supply it’s projects throughout the U.S. and Canada. Already it has more than 40 projects ranging from 3 to 400 megawatts across North America. In the future the company could also supply other markets from the location, like Central and South America. “As our scope and business grows we will look to expand our reach to those markets,” he said.

In addition to its headquarters and manufacturing partnerships in San Antonio, OCI plans to investment in education, research and development in San Antonio. It’s also planning to create an Engineering and Operations Center where it will work on innovations in solar and other research.