- New solar plants to be constructed by SunEdison in West Texas will supply 100% clean energy to the city of Georgetown, making its publicly-owned utility one of the first and largest in the nation to source all power from renewables.
- The plants will be interconnected by 2016 and will provide 150 MW of clean power for 25 years. The city says low solar energy prices were behind its choice to switch to all renewable power.
- The deal represents the largest utility scale solar agreement that SunEdison has signed in Texas to date.
A Texas town will source all of its power from renewable energy, thanks to a deal struck with developer SunEdison. The solar plants will provide over 9,500 GWh of clean energy to Georgetown through 2041, enough to power more than 24,000 homes a year for 25 years.
Upon completion, SunEdison expects to offer this project for investment to TerraForm Power. The project is expected to create close to 800 jobs in Texas during construction.
"When Georgetown Utility Systems opted to seek new sources of power in 2012, we were charged with a mission to secure the most cost effective energy that balanced risk and reward," says Jim Briggs, interim city manager for the City and general manager for utilities. "Georgetown Utility Services isn't required to buy solar or other renewables - we did so because it will save on electricity costs and decrease our water usage."
The agreement, said Briggs, makes Georgetown Utility Systems "one of the largest municipal utilities in the nation to be 100% renewable powered. It also provides a hedge against future fuel and regulatory risks."
The Georgetown city spokesperson told the Texas Tribune that the primary motivation behind the shift was price.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future for regulations for fossil-based fuels,” Keith Hutchinson said. “This really removes that element from our price costs going forward.”
“Georgetown isn’t required to buy solar or other renewables,” Briggs said in a statement reported by Bloomberg. “We did so because it will save on electricity costs and decrease our water usage.”
The power purchase agreement is one of the largest solar agreements in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, SunEdison said.