Up until now, commercial energy companies in Texas have chosen conventional energy with considerable growth in alternative energy sources such as wind and, to a lesser extent, solar power contributing to the grid. But this may be set to change. The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that solar energy provision on a commercial scale will soon get a huge boost thanks to the Alamo 6 solar project.
Why Texas for solar power?
To begin with, Texas is a sunny state with few cloudy days to interfere with solar energy generation. Secondly, desert sites with little other potential can be converted into huge solar farms, gathering energy by day, but also by night. While we don’t usually think of solar panels gathering energy from the moon, moonlight is reflected sunlight, and it does have energy generating capacity. In urban areas, solar panels are unable to make use of moonlight since city lights out-compete the moon, but desert sites will offer a unique opportunity to obtain ‘lunar’ power as well as solar power. Although one might not expect this amount of energy to be significant, the farm should produce 12% of its power at night, and with a solar farm of this scale, that’s a lot of energy! In addition, the desert areas are the sunniest of all. It’s sunny 90% of the time, ensuring that solar panels will be working to the max during the daylight hours.
Alamo 6: the world’s largest solar farm
1,250 acres of desert land in the Trans-Pecos region is currently being developed, and will become one of the largest solar farms in the world by the time it reaches completion. Construction will give the economy a much-needed boost, creating jobs for unemployed oil-workers. At its peak, the project should generate over 400 jobs as construction gains momentum. Once complete, the solar farm will generate a record-braking 110 megawatts of power. It’s all systems go for Alamo 6 with on-site infrastructure including a pump house and maintenance facilities having been completed ahead of the erection of solar collectors. Apart from Alamo 6, the area is already seeing the development of yet another large solar energy farm known as The Pearl Solar Plant. This project kicked off construction in January, employing 260 workers. Alamo 5 near Uvalde is also under construction and will cover 900 acres when complete. The Chihuahua Desert will soon become a powerhouse for Texas, and since land with agricultural potential is not being utilized, it will have no impact on other land-use plans or land productivity.
Solar potential in Texas: a largely untapped resource
Until recently, the primary focus for commercial scale renewable energy generation has been wind power, but this may be set to change. It is only a matter of time before the massive solar energy generation potential will be exploited on an even larger scale, and project such as Alamo 6 are leading the way. Developers are taking note, and we can expect to see yet more ambitious plans and proposals seeing the light of day as the trend gains momentum. Potential solar sites in Crockett County and Haskell County have already been identified and it is only a matter of time before they will be developed. We find ourselves asking whether Texas will follow Oregon’s example: the state has declared that coal-fuel power-stations will be phased out completely by 2035.
Private individuals and businesses: food for thought
Those with an eye out for opportunity will recognize the possibilities presented by solar power in their own backyards, or on their rooftops. Choosing to remain with utility companies means paying for your power, and although set-up costs are a reality, solar energy rapidly pays for itself. Although it is encouraging to see energy utilities moving towards solar energy, it makes sense to grab some of the Texas potential for renewable energy for ourselves. And the sooner we do it, the better. Tax rebates are currently very favourable, but the incentives will not be in place forever. If you’re wondering whether it really will be worth your while to generate your own solar energy in Texas, 1SolarSolution is here to help. There’s no ‘hard-sell’ when it comes to solar power. We’ll present you with all the facts: what your solar energy system will consist of, what it would cost and how long it would be before you can expect to see a substantial return on your investment. The results will surprise you, and chances are, you’ll join the ranks of those who are making use of the favourable Texas climate to generate their own electricity. Call us or mail us today for a no-obligation proposal.
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