OCI Solar Power’s Alamo 2 project northeast of San Antonio has entered commercial service, the second phase of a 400MW build-out for municipal utility CPS Energy.
OCI developed the 4.4MW solar farm in collaboration with the San Antonio River Authority. SARA owns the land used for the solar farm near the organization’s Upper Martinez wastewater treatment plant.
“The Alamo 2 solar farm moves us another step closer to making clean, carbon-free energy an even larger part of our diversified generation portfolio”, says Cris Eugster, CPS Energy’s chief generation and strategy officer.
The first 41MW phase of the solar build-out came onstream in December. Construction will begin on Alamo 3 in San Antonio this year. Alamo 4 is a 39MW site currently under construction in Brackettville, Texas.
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 Solar Power.
The company, part of South Korea’s OCI Company, will also own and operate the facility. Renewable Energy Systems Americas was contracted for engineering, procurement and construction, and Swinerton, based in San Diego, California, will maintain it.
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.
Nexolon, a South Korean company, is establishing its North American headquarters in San Antonio, where it will build a manufacturing plant. ERCAM, based here in San Francisco, is also looking to locate a plant there. KACO New Energy, based in Germany, has its US headquarters in California.
Those plants and future supplier facilities will result in an estimated $100m manufacturing operation that will generate $700m economic output, according to OCI Solar Power spokeswoman Amy McCool . The consortium partners expect to transfer and hire at least 800 professional and technical employees for their San Antonio operations, with an annual payroll of nearly $40m.