Huge Solar Power Project Coming to the Houston Area
March 25, 2019
Houston-area residents hoping to power their homes with solar energy can rejoice: A new 1,800-acre solar farm scheduled to be installed in Fort Bend, Texas, will bring hundreds of megawatts of solar power to local homes.
Construction on the $170 million project begins next year, and facility owners are planning to have the farm live by March 1, 2020. The farm will sit on land leased from local property owners by national property developer Landlease.
Fort Bend’s Solar Farm Isn’t Just Another Solar Installation
The project’s massive size alone makes it notable — but it will also house some innovative features that will increase solar power production and make it easier to distribute power to local energy customers. For instance, an on-site utility substation converts energy harvested from the installation into useable electricity and transmits it directly to CenterPoint Energy’s regional power grid. A tracking system added to panels will follow the angle of the sun as it moves across the sky, tilting the panels for maximum solar absorption.
Here’s how the Fort Bend installation breaks down by the numbers:
- The farm features 700,000 solar panels on a rotating tracker system, allowing panels to tilt for optimal solar potential.
- The panels are projected to produce enough energy to power the homes of 40,000 CenterPoint Energy customers.
- The construction and initial installation will employ 150 people in 2019, with another 52 people hired in 2020. Once the facility is up and running, it will require just two employees to keep it going.
Fort Bend Project Underscores Texas’s Burgeoning Solar Industry
The new project adds to Texas’s already established reputation as a leader in the solar industry. Currently, California is the only state that outranks Texas for solar power growth, and that trend will only continue in the Lone Star State. As of 2018, there were a recorded 48,260 solar installations in the state, which generate enough energy to power 349,044 homes. Experts expect that new installations will add 7,081 megawatts to the state’s solar capacity over the next five years.
San Antonio leads Texas’s urban areas for installed solar; a study conducted by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center ranked the Alamo City among its ”Top 20 Solar Cities by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity” for 2016. With 117 megawatts of installed solar capacity, San Antonio beat out other bastions of solar energy, such as San Francisco, Portland, and Austin.
Other areas of Texas are following in San Antonio’s footsteps: Along with the new Fort Bend facility, there are several other high-profile solar installations coming to Texas soon. Earlier this month, a new solar project in the Permian Basin was announced, which will bring another 495-megawatts of installed solar power to Texas — as well as a 495-megawatt battery storage facility, making it one of the largest and most powerful installations in the state.
Another 1,100-acre solar farm planned for Canton, Texas, near Dallas, would add another 127 megawatts to the Texas solar power landscape, enough energy to power around 25,000 homes. With these projects coming to the Lone Star State, it’s likely that Texas’s solar capacity will only grow in the upcoming decade. And our state has size on its side. With millions of acres of rural land, when it comes to Texas solar installations, the old saying rings true: everything truly is bigger in Texas.
Thinking of installing your own solar panels? Residents of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, And Irving can harness the power of the sun with a residential solar installation by calling Freedom Solar. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation — and join Texas’s growing solar energy movement!