Texas Adds Two More Utility-Scale Solar Power Projects

Texas continues to add to its U.S.-leading portfolio of renewable energy projects, with two large solar power installations recently coming online.

Clearway Energy Group on Feb. 22 said it had completed the 452-MW Texas Solar Nova complex in Kent County. The multimillion-dollar array, which was built in two phases, already has offtake agreements, including a deal with Verizon.

Enel North America and Polaris on Feb. 20 announced the start of operations of Enel’s Fence Post solar-plus-storage project in Texas. The project is supported by a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), in which Polaris will buy electricity and associated renewable energy certificates (RECs) related to 22 MW of generation from Fence Post, equivalent to about 40% of Polaris’ U.S. use of power.

Verizon said its deal with the Texas Solar Nova project supports Citizen Verizon, the company’s business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement. The communications company has a target to source at least half of annual electricity consumption with renewable energy by 2025, with a goal to reach net-zero emissions from its operations by 2035.

The Texas Solar Nova installation features more than 1.1 million solar panels sited on about 5,000 acres in Kent County, which is about halfway between Abilene and Lubbock and west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Mortenson served as Clearway’s construction partner for the project. Source: Clearway Energy Group

Valerie Wooley, senior vice president of Origination at San Francisco, California-based Clearway, said of Texas Solar Nova: “We are incredibly grateful for our partnerships with local officials, suppliers, construction partners, and customers that made this project possible. The Texas Solar Nova complex is delivering new renewable power to the ERCOT [Texas’ grid operator] grid, thanks to the ongoing dedication of our partners. We thank Verizon, SKF, and Toyota Boshoku America, among others, for partnering with Clearway to help meet their own decarbonization goals.”

SKF, a Swedish-based manufacturing company with operations in Texas, and Toyota Boshoku America—an auto parts maker and part of Toyota Group—have said their companies’ respective decarbonization goals are supported by the solar project through REC purchases.

“Clearway has been an outstanding partner to Verizon as we continue to work to meet our goals around climate protection,” said Jim Gowen, SVP, Global Supply Chain & Sourcing, and Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon. “Through these purchase agreements with Clearway, we are proud to continue to accelerate the greening of the U.S. electrical grid.”

Rob Jenkinson, Net Zero Manager at SKF Group, said, “SKF’s long-term agreement to purchase RECs from Clearway’s solar complex in Kent County not only enables us to secure 100% renewable electricity for all our operations in the U.S. and Canada, but also represents a significant investment in the green energy sector.”

Jenkinson added, “This marks a crucial milestone in our sustainability journey for North America, and for SKF globally, bringing us a step closer to our goal to decarbonize our global operations by 2030 and forming an important element of our net-zero strategy.”

“Toyota Boshoku America is excited to partner with Clearway as a REC buyer for this solar project,” said Ryan Hunt, vice president of Production Control at Toyota Boshoku America. “The project embodies our core values of doing what is right and contributing to society on a path towards a more sustainable future. It also supports our overall decarbonization goals by offsetting 100% of our annual energy consumption in the United States and Canada by 2026.”

Texas Solar Nova features more than 1.1 million solar panels sited on about 5,000 acres. Mortenson served as Clearway’s construction partner for the project. About $700 million of the construction financing commitments, and $182 million of term loan commitments, came from a consortium including Natixis, DNB, MUFG, NordLB, and Societe Generale.

Solar-Plus-Storage Installation

The Fence Post installation is located in Navarro County, and includes a 297-MW solar photovoltaic project paired with an 86-MW energy storage system. The solar project began commercial operations in December 2023, with the storage system undergoing final commissioning.

“Polaris shares Enel’s mission to bring more clean energy onto the grid,” said Stephen Pike, head of Enel North America’s renewable energy production business, Enel Green Power North America. “Across all sectors, leaders like Polaris are stepping up to secure the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Enel offers the clean and flexible solutions businesses need to advance their sustainability goals.”

“Partnering with Enel on this project supports Polaris’s goal of adding renewable electricity to its energy portfolio and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Deborah Briggs, vice president, Employee Health, Safety, Security and Facilities at Polaris. “This project supports our ongoing efforts to source electricity from renewable resources and will help Polaris deliver on our commitment towards a more sustainable future.”

Texas ranks first in the nation for wind energy output—approaching nearly 40 GW—and second to California in total solar power production, with Texas expected to generate more than 20 GW of solar this year, according to ERCOT. Texas leads the nation in utility-scale solar output; California’s total production of solar energy is supported by rooftop solar on homes and businesses.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Feb. 15 said Texas is expected to add a U.S.-leading 6.4 GW of battery energy storage capacity this year, ahead of California’s expected 5.2 GW. The EIA said the two states combined will account for 82% of new U.S. battery energy storage capacity installed in 2024.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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