CPS, San Antonio mayor dedicate 20-MW renewable project

CPS Energy’s President and CEO Doyle Beneby, Mayor Julián Castro and other leaders ceremoniously cut a unique bowtie-styled ribbon to dedicate the utility’s newest source of solar energy – the William R. Sinkin Centennial Solar Farms 1 and 2.

Named after local solar energy advocate Bill Sinkin, who is known for wearing bowties, the 19.8 megawatt (MW) project will produce enough clean power for an estimated 2,550 average Texas homes annually.

Two sites feature a total of 83,034 photovoltaic solar panels that track the sun from east to west. The solar arrays are located on nearly 200 acres of land at the Dos Rios Water Recycling Center owned by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).“San Antonio is home to the state’s largest solar energy portfolio, and these two solar farm additions will reinforce CPS Energy’s Vision 2020 to provide ratepayers clean renewable energy resources, while contributing to our community’s economic development” said Mayor Castro.

“We continually strive to meet our commitment to acquire affordable, renewable energy resources,” said Beneby. “These solar facilities will further diversify our generation portfolio and lower our environmental risks to help keep our rates among the lowest of any major city in the nation.”

SunEdison began construction of the Centennial sites in November of 2011 and invested millions locally, while helping to create more than 175 temporary construction jobs. The California-based company is one of CPS Energy’s New Energy Economy partners. The New Energy Economy is CPS Energy’s approach to attract business partners that drive job growth, improve the environment and invest in education. The commitment is spurring economic development and helping San Antonio emerge as a hub for clean energy technology. As part of its partnership with CPS Energy, SunEdison relocated a regional office to San Antonio and awarded a total of $300,000 to UTSA and Alamo Colleges for academic scholarships.

“SunEdison is proud of the work we have accomplished together with CPS Energy, SAWS and the City of San Antonio,” stated Tim Derrick, General Manager, North America for SunEdison. “More than just energy, SunEdison provides smart solar solutions. From innovative PPAs to our proven PV technologies, we understand our customers and develop solar programs to meet their specific needs.”

“SAWS is excited to be a partner in this innovative project with CPS Energy and SunEdison,” said Robert R. Puente, President/CEO, San Antonio Water System. “Our Dos Rios Water Recycling Center is already a model of sustainability by optimizing existing resources, so it seems a natural fit for solar energy to be harnessed here as well.”

CPS Energy will purchase all of the electric generation produced at Centennial through a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).  Utilizing ground-mounted photovoltaic systems on single-axis trackers, Centennial will generate more than 893 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the span of the partnership. During the next 25 years, the sites will offset 1.1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of taking 109,000 vehicles off the road for one year.

The completion of this project reiterates CPS Energy’s ongoing commitment to a diversified energy portfolio in meeting the future energy needs of Greater San Antonio. Sustainable energy resources that include wind, solar and landfill gas are contributing to the utility’s Vision 2020 goal of having 1500 MW of its generation capacity come from renewable resources by 2020.

In 2010, CPS Energy began receiving power from the 14.4 MW Blue Wing Solar facility. The addition of Centennial brings the utility’s solar generation to 34.2 MW.