Austin Energy Activates 30-MW Solar Farm

Austin Energy, along with Texas mayors Lee Leffingwell of Austin and Hector Gonzales of Webberville, announced the activation of a 30-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in Webberville. The activation marks the first utility-scale solar deployment for Austin Energy and helps bring the utility a step closer to achieving a 35 percent renewable-energy mix by 2020.

It is the largest active solar project of any public power utility in the country, the largest active project in Texas and among the largest of all operating solar projects in America. The project was activated on Dec. 20, 2011.

The announcement was made at a ribbon-cutting event held at the 380-acre photovoltaic solar farm. The 30-MW solar project comprises more than 127,000 photovoltaic solar modules mounted on single-axis trackers that follow the sun to maximize solar-energy production. The utility-scale solar-power plant is expected to produce more than 61 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean solar energy in the first year of operation alone.

The utility-scale solar-power project was made possible through a 25-year solar power purchase agreement in which Austin Energy will purchase the energy at a fixed rate along with the renewable energy credits.

It is expected the 30-MW solar project will generate more than 1.4 billion kWh of renewable energy over 25 years. That is enough energy to power more than 5,000 homes per year while offsetting more than 1.6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

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