First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) announced the completion of Phase 1 of the Barilla Solar Project in Pecos County, Texas, bringing approximately 18 MWAC of generating capacity to the Texas competitive wholesale market.
First Solar will offer electricity generated by the Barilla plant on a competitive open contract basis, making it the first such solar asset in Texas. First Solar developed, constructed and will operate the power plant, which incorporates a suite of advanced controls and capabilities essential to supporting grid stability and reliability within the ERCOT region. The project is in the final stages of the commissioning process.
Pecos County Judge Joe Shuster, commenting on the announcement said: "First Solar is a pioneer in bringing West Texas solar into the diverse energy portfolio of Texas. In West Texas we've got plenty of land, some with a lot of oil under it, and all of it with sunshine which makes it perfect for solar plants like this. I'm excited to see Barilla as the first project in what I hope will soon be the 'Texas solar patch.'"
"It is exciting to enter the Texas market with a clean, renewable energy source that is competitively priced against traditional high-cost peak resources," said Tim Rebhorn, Senior Vice President of Business Development for First Solar. "This project demonstrates First Solar's capability to rapidly develop, construct and commission a solar asset offering clean, renewable energy at competitive rates to the grid when and where it is needed."
Rebhorn said that the Barilla power plant will contribute to lower electricity prices for Texas consumers, while providing a reliable resource to power providers.
According to the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Texas has the greatest technical potential for solar development in the U.S. The Barilla Solar Project takes advantage of one of the best solar resource geographies in the state, with the added benefit of tying into nearby existing power transmission infrastructure in the West Texas region. The solar power plant utilizes no water for electricity generation, an important additional benefit in an area where scarce water resources must be preserved.
Regarding the Barilla project, state Rep. Poncho Nevarez (D - Eagle Pass) said, "We are blessed with sunshine in Pecos County and West Texas. Harnessing it would give us an opportunity for clean and efficient power for Texas' future. What a great investment!"
Source: First Solar/firstsolar.com