Five Texas power co-ops buy solar contracts

Five Texas power co-ops buy solar contracts

Five electric cooperatives in Texas have agreed to buy 7 megawatts of solar generation from a Canadian renewable energy developer, enough to power about 1,400 Texas homes on a hot summer day.

Saturn Power will sell power to the cooperatives through 20-year power purchase agreements. The buyers include Bartlett Electric Cooperative and Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative which are both north of Austin; Comanche Electric Cooperative which is southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, PenTex Energy which is north of Dallas-Fort Worth and South Plains Electric Cooperative which is south of Amarillo.

Solar arrays for each buyer will be placed on the cooperatives’ distribution systems, thereby avoiding demand charges and generation capacity charges from the state grid manager Electric Reliability Council of Texas, according to an announcement from Colorado-based environmental group Rocky Mountain Institute which represented the buyers in the deal.

"Developing these solar energy installations makes a lot of sense for our members," said Bryan Lightfoot, general manager and chief executive officer of Bartlett Electric Cooperative. "Not only will we be providing more clean, locally sourced energy to our community and hardening our grid, but we expect to save money over the life of these projects by becoming more self-sufficient."

The solar systems are scheduled to begin operation by June 2020.

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Marcia Mosley