SAN ANTONIO, Aug. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- CPS Energy added 10 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to its portfolio with the completion of a New Energy Economy project in Somerset, Texas. The addition completes a 30 MW solar project with New Energy Economy partner SunEdison and adds $100,000 from the California-based company to area education efforts.
"Combined with our first launch into solar energy two years ago, our customers are now benefitting from roughly 45 megawatts of affordable clean energy," said Cris Eugster, executive vice president and chief sustainability officer. "Solar is guaranteed to be there when we need it most during sunny, hot summer days. So, this project further diversifies our energy portfolio and strengthens peak demand generation."
The 124-acre Somerset Solar Farm contains 44,280 single-axis tracking photovoltaic (PV) panels that will follow the sun throughout the day. Generating a total of 10.6 MW of emissions-free electricity, the panels will create enough energy to power about 1,600 homes.
In June, the partners celebrated the first 20 MW of the 30 MW project at the Centennial Solar Farms 1 & 2 located in south Bexar County at the San Antonio Water System Dos Rios Water Recycling Center. The Somerset site is located at 8719 S. FM 2790 W. in southwest Bexar County.
The latest part of this clean energy project will help South Texas students with SunEdison's contribution of $100,000 to the Somerset ISD Foundation – the largest ever for the foundation. As a result of its partnership with CPS Energy, SunEdison had previously contributed a total of $300,000 to the University of Texas at San Antonio and Alamo Colleges.
"We are extremely grateful for the generous contribution to the foundation as it will provide immediate resources aimed at increasing student achievement. SunEdison has been a great community partner. We're glad CPS Energy seeks out businesses that want to contribute to the community," said Saul Hinojosa, Somerset ISD superintendent and executive board member with the district's foundation.
Under a power purchase agreement, CPS Energy will buy the energy produced at the solar farms from SunEdison at fixed energy rates for 25 years. SunEdison was responsible for the financing and construction of the project, which created 375 construction jobs, and will oversee the operation and maintenance of the systems. Citi financed all 30 MW of the SunEdison/CPS Energy projects, which included both the Centennial and Somerset solar farms.
CPS Energy now offers its customers 44.8 MW of solar energy, with 14.4 MW at Blue Wing Solar Farm, 19.8 at Centennial and 10.6 in Somerset. The utility leads Texas in wind energy with 1,059 under contract as featured in the state's recently released Renewable Energy Report. Combined with 12.6 MW of landfill gas and another 400 MW of solar under contract, the utility is on track to exceed its Vision 2020 goal of 1500 MW of renewable energy by the year 2020.
CPS Energy is the nation's largest municipally owned natural gas and electric utility, providing service to approximately 728,000 electric and 328,000 natural gas customers in the Greater San Antonio area. The utility offers the lowest rates among the top 10 largest U.S. cities, while ranking number 1 in wind-energy capacity among municipally owned utilities and number 1 in Texas for solar generation. For more information, visit www.cpsenergy.com.