West Texas in line for solar farm

TEXAS (TIP)For years Texas has watched as solar developers flock to greener pastures in California and Arizona where state subsidies and high power prices have created a solar boom.

The announcement Wednesday that First Solar, one of the world’s largest solar companies, was building a sprawling 22 megawatt farm in West Texas represented a rare piece of good news for the state’s nascent solar industry. Tim Rebhorn, First Solar’s senior vice president for project development in North and South America, said his company was betting on the conditions for solar improving in Texas.

“When energy prices are as low as they are in Texas, it makes it very difficult to come in and build,” he said. “But we’re seeing constraints on capacity. And we think on the merchant side there’s going to be a price effect.” The project, named Barilla, is being built on a 200-acre site about 30 miles west of Fort Stockton. Rebhorn said the site is large enough the facility could ultimately expand to 150 megawatts of capacity, which would make it the largest solar farm in Texas.

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