First Solar has announced that the company has begun construction of Phase I of the Barilla Solar Project in Pecos County, Texas which is expected to begin operating commercially in mid-2014
The company will build, commission and operate the 22MW solar power plant with generated electricity sold to municipal utilities, electric cooperatives and larger commercial and industrial users. The plant will have access to one of the best solar resource areas in the state and will serve more heavily populated areas with greater peak energy demand.
“The Barilla Solar Project demonstrates First Solar's capability to rapidly develop, construct and commission a solar project offering clean, reliable energy at competitive rates to the market when and where it is required” said Tim Rebhorn, Senior Vice President of Business Development for First Solar. “The project will contribute to Texas' immediate energy needs and demonstrate how solar power can provide a generating resource that can be effectively integrated into the ERCOT grid and help meet Texas' energy demand, particularly during critical peak hours.”
Brian Kunz, First Solar's Vice President of Project Development, said that an additional benefit of the project is that solar plants do not require water to generate electricity, which is important in West Texas where water resources are scarce. Pecos County Judge Joe Shuster added that the project is “an important step forward in our efforts to establish West Texas as a center for renewable energy” and that the state is not resting on its legacy of leadership in oil and gas. Solar is to be welcomed as the next new component in Texas energy resources.