Harnessing The Sun
More than a year ago Austin’s City Council approved the construction of the nation’s largest solar power plant outside of Webberville, but now a newer and much bigger plant is being proposed near Pflugerville.
Floyd Akers, Pflugerville’s City Attorney, said the plant would provide enough power to light every home in the town.
“So that is quite a few people,” Akers said. “This solar farm will probably actually power about 40,000 households and so. we’ll have power to spare on this one.”
Whether or not the plant gets built on what is now 600 acres of feed grain depends on Travis County. Akers says that RRE Austin Solar, the company building the plant, is waiting on tax abatements. Project consultant Angelos Angelou, an Austin-based economist, said he believes the county will okay the abatement request.
“The county I believe is seriously considering this, they are going through their due process as they should,” Angelou said. “This is a unique project and they realize that, and we hope that their decision is going to be favorable so that a huge project of this kind can be enabled in Travis County.”
Pflugerville’s plant will be the second solar farm in the region. While Webberville’s plant has been delayed, officials hope construction on that plant will start soon. Akers said he expects both solar plants will raise the region’s renewable energy profile and turn Central Texas into a solar hub.
“There are so many solar panels that have to be constructed for that 30 Megawatt plant and for our 60 Megawatt plant that solar panel manufactures will have to relocate to central Texas to meet that demand,” Akers said. “So it will become a hub for solar energy just to meet the demand of our plant alone.”
If the proposed plant were built today, it would be the largest in the nation, and officials with the project said they could start building the plant by the end of the summer.
—by Pierre Bertrand