Ground has broken on the largest solar project in ENGIE North America’s entire fleet: the Long Draw Solar Project, a 225 MW monster of a project located in Borden County, Texas, which will also be the subject of an honest and concerted effort by this writer to not stoop to using the “Everything is bigger in Texas” cliche. That’s a promise.
Similarly impressive is the quick turnaround time the project is anticipated to have. With a workforce that will number 150 at its peak, Long Draw (which sounds like something an 1880’s West Texas sheriff would name his favorite .44) is anticipated to enter into commercial operation in the summer of 2020. Once it does so, it will begin feeding electricity to its four municipal power purchasers: New Braunfels, Denton, Garland, and Kerrville, all of which are in Texas.
The project’s power purchase agreement comes in response to a request for proposals issued by New Braunfels Utilities (NBU), who in turn partnered with Denton Municipal Electric (DME), Garland Power & Light (GP&L), and Kerrville Public Utility Board (KPUB). NBU is the big buyer in this equation and is contracted for 100 MW, while Denton will purchase 75 MW, Garland will purchase 25 MW, and Kerrville will purchase 25 MW.
NBU says that with this purchase, 40% of their electricity will come from renewable sources: wind, hydro, landfill gases, and of course solar power. NBU also shared that they signed the 100 MW deal at a price below 2.5¢/kWh.
As for the layout of the installation, let’s take a look at the project’s map:
The project will be comprised of more than Yingli 800,000 solar panels with 204 Greenpower inverters. It has not yet been finalized whether the the project will use racking or any variation of a tracking system, nor do project documents outline what the plans are for the vast swaths of land currently included but unused. Long Draw Solar LLC. is also constructing 500 feet of generation transmission line in Borden County in conjunction with and to support the Long Draw Project.
And finally, more than just electricity, the project is estimated to generate more than $10 million in tax payments to Borden County and the Borden County Independent School District over its lifetime.