8minuteenergy enters Texas with more than 2GW of PV projects

8minuteenergy Renewables is formally expanding operations into Texas to “drive” more than 2GW of utility-scale PV projects that the San Francisco-based company is targeting for development there.

It has opened an office in Houston, the western hemisphere’s epicenter for the oil and natural gas industry.

The company is the latest industry leader pursuing multiple utility-scale project opportunities in arid, sun-drenched West Texas with its high levels of insolation, cheap land and available transmission access.

“We captured nearly 15% market share in California, which is one of the toughest solar markets in the world. We are excited to replicate our proven model and execution-oriented approach in Texas,” said chief executive Martin Hermann.

He asserted that 8minuteenergy brings a strong record of accomplishment in California that includes 1.5GW of power purchase agreements, building the massive 800MW Mount Signal project and being the first company in the US to generate solar energy cheaper than fossil fuels.

“We believe in partnership, transparency, and innovation, which are traits that are already proving beneficial in our early stage project development achievements across the Lone Star State,” he added, referring to the nickname for Texas.

Company president Tom Buttgenbach said 8minuteenergy “knows” how to optimise and design a project from the start, and manage it all from transmission to operations and maintenance.

“We believe this approach will resonate in Texas where utilities and corporations are looking for pure-play solar partners that can aggressively compete with alternative forms of energy,” he said.

That will mean competing on price in ERCOT, which is mostly deregulated and operates the grid serving 90% of the state’s electric load. Natural gas, coal and wind are the three leading generators of electricity there, along with nuclear.

Solar is only now gaining traction as declining prices and more availability of generation capacity have drawn strong interest from utilities, distributors and non-traditional buyers such as companies and municipalities.