Just days after the ribbon was cut on the largest solar farm in Texas outside Austin, San Antonio has announced a new solar project that would dwarf its neighbor to the North: a 400 megawatt solar project that would be twice as large as any solar farm currently runningin the world.
Some key points:
- There are about 717,000 people who get power from CPS energy, the city-owned electric utility in San Antonio, which uses around 7,500 megawatts of power. So this 400-megawatt project would provide power to about five percent of San Antonio. (The Webberville solar project in Austin, by comparison, will produce up to 30 megawatts of power.)
- The company behind the project, OCI Solar Power, is a South Korean subsidiary, and will be moving its headquarters to San Antonio as a result of the agreement. In a press release, the company says the project will result in “800-plus professional and technical jobs” with a payroll of nearly $40 million, and “more than $1 billion in construction investment.”
- The agreement is for 25 years, and will allow San Antonio to reach its goal of sourcing 20 percent of its energy from renewable energy by 2020.
So does this mark the beginning of a “solar war” between Austin and San Antonio? Laylan Copelin of the Austin American-Statesman took a stab at the question, talking to Tom “Smitty” Smith of Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy nonprofit group. He told the paper that “The race is on” between the two cities. “They are going to beat us, unless Austin takes action quickly.”