San Antonio’s First And State’s Largest Solar Project Completed

09 Nov San Antonio’s First And State’s Largest Solar Project Completed

November 9, 2010

Harmony Elementary School students helped cut a green ribbon today to officially mark the start of operations for San Antonio’s first solar farm – the largest in the state. U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Mayor Julián Castro, and local solar pioneer Bill Sinkin joined CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby and executives with Duke Energy and juwi solar Inc. to dedicate the Blue Wing Solar Project.

Located in southeast San Antonio on a 113-acre site, the 16-megawatt (MW DC) installation is home to 214,500 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.

It is no secret that Texas is a state with high solar resource potential. CPS Energy has been at the forefront of employing renewable resources and Blue Wing further demonstrates the utility’s commitment to creating a balance of energy options to power San Antonio,” said Sen. Cornyn.

The Blue Wing Solar Project is expected to produce more than 26,570 megawatt-hours (MWH) of electricity per year – enough to power 1,800 average households. The power generated is emissions-free and equivalent to taking 3,800 cars off the road.

The installation began full operations on November 4, nearly two months ahead of schedule.  It contains a demonstration area that is being used to test the efficiency of eight different PV technologies, including a 50-foot tall concentrating photovoltaic unit that tracks the sun’s movement.

“It says a lot about CPS Energy and San Antonio that we are now home to the state’s largest solar farm,” Mayor Julián Castro said. “San Antonio is positioning itself to become a leader in renewable energy by making these kinds of smart investments.”

During the construction phase nearly $2 million were spent in local purchases and more than 100,000 labor hours were generated. At the peak of construction, 115 workers were on site.

“Blue Wing further solidifies our commitment to acquire affordable, renewable energy resources, while contributing to our community’s economic development,” said Doyle Beneby president and CEO for CPS Energy. “We are currently number one nationally in wind energy capacity among public utilities, and this project launches our venture into solar power, which will be pursued with equal effort.”

CPS Energy will purchase all of the electric generation produced at the facility from Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS) through a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

“With the Blue Wing solar farm now on line, customers of CPS Energy can lay claim to using clean, renewable electricity generated at what is today the largest photovoltaic solar farm in Texas,” said Keith Trent, group executive and president of the Commercial Businesses organization for Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS).

DEGS acquired the project earlier this year from juwi solar, which developed, designed and built it. Construction began in April and took less than seven months to complete.

“The Blue Wing project was made possible by motivated industry leaders and local stakeholder support and represents another significant step in the deployment of utility-scale solar projects in the United States,” said Michael Martin, managing director of juwi solar Inc.

The completion of this project reiterates CPS Energy’s commitment to a diversified energy portfolio in meeting the future needs of the local community. At the end of 2010, CPS Energy projects that 13 percent of its energy capacity will come from renewable resources. The company is committed to 1,500 MW of renewable capacity by 2020, which equates to about 20 percent of total capacity.

CPS Energy is the nation’s largest municipally owned natural gas and electric utility providing service to approximately 707,000 electric customers and 322,000 natural gas customers in and around the City of San Antonio. The utility ranks among the nation’s lowest-cost energy providers while ranking number 1 in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned utilities, and number 1 in Texas in the amount of solar-generated electricity under contract. For more information, visit cpsenergy.com.

Duke Energy Generation Services, part of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative renewable energy solutions, including wind, solar and biopower projects. DEGS builds, owns and operates electric generation for large energy consumers, municipalities, utilities and industrial facilities. DEGS is also working to build commercial transmission capacity to help the U.S. meet its energy needs of the future. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

juwi solar Inc. (JSI), based in Boulder, Colorado, is a developer, turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and operator of solar power plants throughout North America.  JSI’s other U.S. projects include the 15MW Jacksonville Solar in Florida, 12MW Wyandot Solar in Ohio, and the 2.2MW Mars Solar in New Jersey.  JSI is a majority-owned corporation of juwi Holding AG, which ranks among Europe’s leading renewable energy companies. juwi has experience with more than 1,200 photovoltaic projects with a total generation capacity of approximately 600MW.