The city of Austin in Texas is continuing its emergence as a US solar heavyweight with the news that Hanwha Q CELLS USA is to build a 170MW PV power plant for utility Austin Energy.
The two firms have signed a 25-year power purchase agreement for the project, which Hanwha will build on a privately owned site in Pecos County in the western part of Texas.
Last month the City of Austin, which runs Austin Energy, voted in favour plans to increase the city’s solar procurement target from 300MW to 450MW by 2019.
This followed plans outlined last year by Recurrent Energy to build 150MW of grid-competitive PV for Austin Energy under a 20-year PPA.
“We’re very pleased to be partnering with Hanwha to bring more clean solar energy to our customers,” said Larry Weis, general manager of Austin Energy, which serves 1 million residents in the Greater Austin area. “This action moves us closer to the City of Austin’s goal of 55% renewable energy production by 2025.”
The site for the latest project is close to several other large solar farms in development and will be connected to Texas’ ERCOT grid. Hanwha said interconnection applications for 10GW of solar have been filed with ERCOT.
“We’re very excited by the opportunity to work with Austin Energy and support their goal of adding significant solar energy to their generation portfolio,” said Laurence Greene, chief development officer of Hanwha Q CELLS USA. “The solar facility will be a state-of-the-art generation resource using high-performing and efficient technology that will transform the underutilised site into an environmentally sustainable source of power to the local community.”
Hanwha will develop, design and build the project. No timeline was given for completion.