On January 6, Austin Energy, along with Austin City Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Village of Webberville Mayor Hector Gonzales, cut the ribbon on a 30-megawatt solar power plant located in Webberville, Texas, making it the largest solar farm in the state.
The solar farm is made up of more than 127,000 Trina Solar photovoltaic panels on single-axis trackers spread across 320 acres. Originally developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), before it sold its U.S. subsidiary to MEMC last year, RES Americas constructed the plant and will provide O&M for the first five years, according to an RES release.
“The Webberville Solar Project exemplifies Austin’s leadership and investment in a clean energy future,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. “The City of Austin is proud to support a project that reduces emission levels in our community, provides energy during hot summer days when it is needed most and promotes new technologies that future generations can benefit from.”
The solar farm began generating power on December 20, 2011, but Austin Energy announced on the 11th that it had finally begun receiving power from the facility. It is expected that, by the end of its first operational year, it will have generated more than 61 million kilowatt-hours of clean, solar energy, and total 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours of energy over 25 years, enough energy to power more than 136,000 average U.S. homes (5,000 homes per year) while offsetting more than 1.6 billion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere.
For more on solar in the Austin area (as well as 6 other regions of the U.S.), check out Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis’ participation in a utility company CEO roundtable at the 2011 Solar Power International conference in Dallas.