Texas is the nation’s leader in energy production, though its profile is rapidly switching from one dominated by oil and gas to one characterized by solar and wind. As the energy transition takes place, new jobs and revenues are being brought to West Texas, where drier climates and wide-open spaces make it an ideal fit for solar.
This is evidenced by the Galloway 2 solar project in Concho County, a project that is creating over 250 peak construction jobs and more than $18 million in local property tax revenues. Avantus (formerly 8minute) is developing the project, which recently commenced construction.
“Today, solar is not only one of the lowest cost forms of electricity generation, but also one of the fastest growing workforces in America. Here in Texas, we are creating lifelong careers in clean energy that can sustain generations to come,” said Tom Buttgenbach, founder and chief executive officer of Avantus.
Once completed, the project will add 147 MW of capacity to the Texas energy grid, generating enough low-cost clean electricity to provide power for the equivalent of 60,000 Texans, said Avantus.
Most of the project’s energy production is committed to BASF Corporation via a power purchase agreement. The Galloway 2 project is owned by Allianz Capital Partners, with Avantus maintaining a minority stake in the project. RES is performing the engineering, procurement, and construction services.
An impressive 36 GW buildout is expected by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) over the next five years, building on the 16 GW that is active to date in the Lone Star State.
(Read: “Utility-scale updates on Texas 36 GW solar path”)
Much of this investment in solar, which nears $20 billion, is going towards big solar farms, often exceeding 100 MW in capacity. Over 10,000 Texans are employed by the solar industry, and those jobs numbers will sharply rise as more utility-scale projects are built. Today, nearly 5% of Texas electricity is generated by solar.
“Galloway 2 has been such a great addition to our local economy here in Paint Rock,” said Paint Rock Mayor Francis Maupin. “Our town is busier than ever, and the tax revenue will help create real benefits for our school and community for years to come.”
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