Alamo I project begins operation

The first 41MW phase of a planned 400MW multi-site solar PV project is now operating in San Antonio, Texas, and will provide electricity for 6,600 homes served by municipal utility CPS Energy.

"Alamo I is an interesting milestone because it's now the largest solar farm in Texas, but it's still a small part of what is to come," says Tony Dorazio, chief executive of OCI Solar Power, which owns and operates the facility. "Alamo I is only step one to Texas' rise as a big player in solar."  

CPS Energy will buy all the power under a 25-year contract from what will be the largest US municipal utility solar project when completed in 2016 - enough electricity for about 70,000 homes. This will be about 10% of the utility’s residential customers, according to OCI.

Project consortium partners include Nexolon America, which will supply panels, inverter provider KACO New Energy and ERCAM, a unit of Spain’s Energia ERCAM, which will furnish solar trackers.

OCI and local officials estimate the partnership will bring manufacturing plants, 800 permanent jobs and an annual economic impact of $700m to Texas,  

"By 2020, 65% of our community's electricity will come from resources that are low- or no-carbon emitting — reducing emissions in an amount that's equal to removing more than a million cars from local roads," says CPS Energy chief executive Doyle Beneby.

Another solar project, Alamo II, will bring an additional 4.4MW to San Antonio upon completion in early 2014.