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Austin Energy buys electricity from 30 MW solar project

The City Council of Austin, Texas, USA, has approved an agreement under which the municipally-owned electric utility, Austin Energy, will purchase all of the electricity produced by a 30 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project over at 25-year period.

Gemini Solar Development Company LLC will construct, own and manage the solar PV facility, which will span approximately 320 acres. Austin Energy will pay about US$10 million per year for the power.

The solar PV system will use Suntech polycrystalline silicon solar panels, which will be ground-mounted in groups on single-axis trackers rotating east to west throughout the day.

The cost of the project was lowered through the federal Investment Tax Credits (ITC). Austin Energy and Gemini are also assessing, and will apply for, any potential funding that might be available through the federal stimulus package.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010 and completed by the end of that year.

The solar project is said to be a “major step” towards fulfilling Austin City Council’s goal to develop 100 MW of solar capacity by 2020. The Council has also set a goal for 30% of the power from Austin Energy to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Smart grid project

The City recently also announced a project through which the Austin Energy system will serve as a testing ground for new smart grid technology.

The Pecan Street Project is led by the City and Environmental Defense with 11 corporate participants that include the University of Texas and a number of high tech companies.

A key facet of the project will be to examine the capability of distributed generation resources, such as solar on homes and buildings, to provide a large share of the power required by a community.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity



greenguy7 said

14 July 2009
Maybe it's time to concentrate on point of use systems like solar water heaters which have a much lower initial cost and a higher ROI for the community as a whole…

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