Texas’ Largest Solar Project Breaks Ground In San Antonio

15 Apr Texas’ Largest Solar Project Breaks Ground In San Antonio

04/15/2010

CPS Energy, Duke Energy and juwi solar Inc. are proud to announce that work crews recently started construction of Texas’ largest solar farm on a 139-acre site in southeast San Antonio.

“We’re very excited to be breaking ground on a solar farm that will be operational in San Antonio by the end of this year,” said Cris Eugster, CPS Energy executive vice president and chief sustainability officer. “Not only will it be the largest solar farm in Texas, but it’s also going to be one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the U.S.”

The Blue Wing Solar Project, a 14-megawatt (MW) solar PV installation, is being built near the intersection of IH 37 and U.S. 181 on a site that will be clearly visible from both highways. The project will consist of 214,500 ground-mounted First Solar thin film panels. Blue Wing will generate an estimated 26,570 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year, enough energy to power about 1,800 San Antonio area homes a year.

CPS Energy will purchase all of the output from the solar farm – and associated renewable energy credits – from Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), under the terms of a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

“It’s an honor to help CPS Energy deliver clean, renewable energy to its customers,” said DEGS President Wouter van Kempen. “CPS truly stands out among U.S. municipally owned energy companies for its efforts to grow its renewable energy portfolio.”

DEGS acquired the project from juwi solar Inc., headquartered in Boulder, Colo., in the first quarter of 2010. juwi solar developed the project and is managing construction of the facility.

“The ground breaking of this project is a very important milestone that represents tangible progress,” said Michael Martin, juwi solar’s managing director. “juwi solar has thoroughly enjoyed our ongoing relationship with CPS Energy and DEGS. Our goal is to continue to provide a safely constructed, quality, on-time, on-budget solar power project of which the City of San Antonio can be proud.”

juwi solar is also donating solar PV systems to two nearby school districts to provide the schools with free, zero-emission electricity and to educate students about the technology used at the solar farm.

With the signing of the Blue Wing PPA, CPS Energy is moving forward with its commitment announced in the summer of 2008 to pursue up to 100 MW of resource capacity from solar energy.
CPS Energy also signed a 20-year agreement last June to acquire 27 MW from Tessera Solar’s new project in West Texas.

With 41 MW under contract, CPS Energy has the most solar-generated electricity under contract in the state of Texas. The Blue Wing Solar Project further solidifies CPS Energy – already number 1 nationally in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned utilities – as a state and national leader in renewable energy.

“Solar is a nice complement to wind power because solar panels produce best during hot summer afternoons when the wind isn’t blowing at West Texas wind farms,” Eugster said. “Solar is more expensive than wind, but it will help us supply more energy during peak power times when Greater San Antonio’s electrical needs are greatest.”

Peñascal Wind Farm near Baffin Bay and Papalote Creek Wind Farm in San Patricio County near Corpus Christi are other great assets for CPS Energy during peak energy times since coastal winds persist during the summer.

“CPS Energy’s strategy has been to take a diversified approach to producing electricity,” Eugster said. “CPS Energy has a balance of different energy sources – everything from traditional to renewable sources. Adding solar to CPS Energy’s well-balanced energy portfolio will help us achieve our ambitious goal to have a renewable-energy capacity equal to 20 percent of customers’ peak electrical demand by 2020.”

CPS Energy is the nation”s largest municipally owned energy company providing both natural gas and electric service. Acquired by the City of San Antonio in 1942, the company serves 707,000 electric customers and 322,000 natural gas customers in and around America”s seventh-largest city. For more information go to www.cpsenergy.com.

Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), 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., based in Boulder, Colo., is a developer and turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor of solar power plants throughout North America.  juwi solar”s main focus is the development, construction and operation of power plants 1MW or larger. juwi solar is a majority-owned corporation of juwi Holding AG, which ranks among Europe’s leading renewable-energy companies. juwi develops large-scale solar photovoltaic, wind and biomass energy projects. With about 750 employees worldwide, juwi has installed more than 1,200 PV systems, with a total capacity in excess of 400 megawatts of generation capacity. For more information about juwi solar, please visit www.juwisolar.com.

Photos of the Blue Wing Solar Project are available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeenergy/sets/72157623852867688/

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