Georgetown, Texas goes 100% solar

SunEdison Inc. funds construction of Georgetown solar energy project

By David Wiechnik

Georgetown

Georgetown solar energy project will save on electricity costs and decrease water usage.

Georgetown, Texas is going 100 per cent renewable energy. SunEdison Inc. recently announced it will build solar plants near the Austin bedroom community to supply the area with enough clean energy for the next 25 years.

“Georgetown is an exceptional city, and by going 100 per cent renewable they will cut down on pollution, save water, and enjoy stable energy prices,” said Paul Gaynor, executive vice president of North America Utility and Global Wind at SunEdison, in a media release.

“They’re able to accomplish all of this without spending a penny up front with SunEdison’s power purchase agreement.”

The power purchase agreement is one of the largest solar agreements in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) jurisdiction, and represents the largest utility scale solar agreement that SunEdison – the world’s largest renewable energy development company – has signed in Texas to date.

“This power purchase agreement makes Georgetown Utility Systems one of the largest municipal utilities in the nation to be 100 per cent renewable powered,” said Jim Briggs, Georgetown interim city manager and general manager for utilities in a press release.   

“It also provides a hedge against future fuel and regulatory risks.”

Briggs says that while Georgetown Utility Services wasn’t required to, “buy solar or other renewables,” they did so to save on electricity costs and decrease their water usage.

“When Georgetown Utility Systems opted to seek new sources of power in 2012, we were charged with a mission to secure the most cost effective energy that balanced risk and reward,” Briggs said. 

SunEdison’s Georgetown solar energy plants will be interconnected in 2016, and have the capability to provide the city with 150 megawatts of solar power for the next two decades.

The project will also provide over 9,500 gigawatt-hours of clean energy to Georgetown through 2041, and enough power to sustain 24,000 homes a year for the next 25 years.

Construction – funded entirely by SunEdison – is expected to create approximately 800 jobs in Texas.

After the building phase is finished, further operation and maintenance of the solar power plants will be performed solely by SunEdison, which will provide global 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services.

“Georgetown is a model for other cities that hope to become powered by clean, renewable energy,” Gaynor said.

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