Austin Energy plans community solar farm project, report says

Jul 14, 2014
Austin Business Journal

Austin Energy is planning to transform a 26-acre lot in East Austin that is owned by the city into the first community solar farm, the Austin American-Statesman reported. The project will also be the utility company's first smaller-scale project within city limits

The land, a half-mile from Springdale Road, is not attractive to developers since it lies near an electrical substation and a railroad track, Austin Energy's Manager of Solar Services Danielle Murray told the Statesman. Last spring, Austin Energy sought bids to build the four-megawatt plant, which will be enough to power 500 homes. In the next month or so, a bidder will be picked, Murray said, but noted that the project needs City Council's blessing

A community solar farm – not a new concept in the U.S. – is geared toward people who are not able to add solar panels to their homes. It often works on a subscription system with participants in the project buying a certain amount of solar-generated kilowatts every month as part of their electric bill. However, the solar power will be funneled into a statewide grid and will be used by Austin Energy and other utilities, the Statesman reported

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