Solar plant starts production near Austin

Friday, December 23, 2011 @ 11:12 AM
posted by rene5432

As the U.S. moves steadily toward greater adoption of renewable electricity, major energy producing states like Texas remain largely devoted to their primary resources like oil. But The Austin American-Statesman reports that the city of Austin is set to start producing its own small share of clean energy.

Texas has no renewable portfolio standards like many other states, which require a certain level of investment in renewable electricity, though the state does offer recommendations. However, Austin has begun to invest in renewables, and specifically solar power on its own.

Though the program has proven more expensive than initially hoped for, the Webberville solar power plant began producing clean energy on Wednesday, December 21, ahead of its official grand opening in January. Begun three years ago, the project faced multiple challenges, but now stands to provide Austin with renewable electricity for at least 25 years.

The 30-megawatt solar installation will account for only slightly more than 1 percent of Austin's generation capacity, but Austin Energy general manager Larry Weis insisted that the city intends to push rooftop solar installations as much as possible to meet its targets, particularly as costs for these systems come steadily downward.

Texas is a growing market for solar power, moving up to the 14th largest solar market in the third quarter of 2011, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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