Texas gusher of massive utility-scale solar development


Texas has a dozen solar sites in operation producing at least 100 MW of power, according to pv magazine’s reporting. And that number is going to double in the coming year.

Texas is perfect for big solar. Although the state has no renewable portfolio standard, it has Texas sun, lots of land and a competitive energy-only marketplace. Texas is projected to be the No. 2 state in new solar capacity over the next five years, according to SEIA, and remains one of the fastest growing solar energy markets in the country.

A 2019 report from ERCOT outlined 43.5 GWac of solar project applications in its interconnection queue, of which 5.1 GW had interconnection agreements and plans to complete construction by the end of 2020. If you’re a utility-scale solar developer — you’re working in Texas.

Texas utility-scale news

Here’s the news at four more Texas-sized solar plants in the Lone Star State.

The 497-MW Roadrunner project, located in Upton County, Texas has just seen its 245-MW second phase become operational. Roadrunner will sell its energy in a 65-MW PPA with Mondelez International and a 70 MW PPA with The Clorox Company. The plant’s 1.2 million bifacial photovoltaic panels can generate 1.2 TWh every year.

The 400-MWac Charger Solar project teams Solar Plus Development, Avondale Solar and J-Power USA to develop the project in Refugio County, Texas, through their joint venture AP Solar. The firms expect to begin construction in the second half of next year and expect the project to come online in 2023.

The 180-MW Flatland Solar project is being sold by developer Tri Global Energy to Silverpeak, an investment firm focused on real estate, energy and credit. Tri Global will continue as lead developer through project financing and construction. Located in Scurry County, Texas, 100 miles south of Lubbock, Texas, Flatland Solar is a 950-acre site, expected to break ground later this year. Nearly 690,000 solar panels will be installed with the energy generated delivered to the ERCOT grid.

The 180-MW Oberon Solar facility, located outside of Odessa in Ector County, Texas has been energized. Developed by Hanwha Group’s 174 Power Global, the project has a 30-MW PPA from retail electricity provider and 174-affiliate Chariot Energy. 174 Power Global broke ground on the 180-MW project in June 2019. The facility is comprised of more than 560,000 solar panels.

Growing list of Texas PV projects > 100 MW

The 1.1 GW Misae Solar project: The first 240 MWac/330 MWdc phase of Misae Solar is operational. Built by Mortenson Renewables and financed by Goldman Sachs and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, it was sold to CIP in 2018. The 517 MWac/693 MWdc Phase II development is “mostly complete and ready to build with an executed interconnection agreement.”

The 577-MW Alamo PV complex in San Antonio, Texas was developed by South Korea’s OCI Solar and started coming online in 2015. OCI coupled a 1-MW battery to one of the sites to provide fast response in the ERCOT market. The plant was upgraded to Array Technologies trackers and bifacial solar modules in 2019.

514-MW Aktina Solar: Independent solar power developer Hecate Energy sold its 514-MWac Aktina Solar PV power plant in Wharton County, Texas, to Tokyo Gas America.

500-MW Pecan Prairie in Leon County, Texas: ConnectGen, a Houston-based renewables developer, is planning a 500-MW solar power project in Leon County, Texas. The Pecan Prairie Solar project would be built on 1,300 acres of leased private pasture land in the southwestern part of the county.

The 350-MWac Red-Tailed Hawk project in Wharton County, Texas will be developed by utility J-Power USA – which runs a 6.5 GW, 12-site gas portfolio in the U.S. – along with investor Avondale Solar and Hong Kong-based project developer Solar Plus Development.

The 200-MW Holstein Solar project in Nolan County, Texas entered commercial operation last month. The project was acquired from developer 8minute Solar Energy which also brought hedge, tax equity and debt counterparties to the project.

The 200-MWac Rambler Solar project in Tom Green County, Texas, has begun commercial operation, according to owner Duke Energy Renewables. The project employs 733,000 Canadian Solar bifacial modules and is constructed by Signal Energy.

Here’s some of our recent coverage of utility-scale solar projects in the U.S.

If you have news or rumors about big solar or big energy storage projects — contact the editor: eric.wesoff@pv-magazine.com

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