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11628Re: [hreg] Re: San Antonio's Solar Farm Update

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  • Kent Seuser
    May 11, 2013
      Yes.  Roi is fast w thermal solar.  In houston the greatest obstacle to grid tied solar is the number of shade events.  

      Sent from my iPhone

      On May 10, 2013, at 3:41 PM, William Swann <william.swann2@...> wrote:


      I assume your comment above, about chillers, is driven by the need to choose technologies that have the quickest payoff. I heard that Centerpoint is a large land owner, in all the easements for high voltage power lines. Given the fact that part of a large scale solar farm is the acquisition of the land, give CP  an incentive to install a couple of mega watts of trackers, in these unused areas.

      On Fri, May 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM, Kent Seuser <kcseuser@...> wrote:

      Would it be more prudent to focus on solar concentrating collectors to operate commercial chillers since over50% of all electricity in houston is used for Ac.  Also doesn't Austin energy sell excess chilled water to downtown residence within a certain area of blocks?

      Sent from my iPhone

      On May 9, 2013, at 5:57 PM, James Cargas <jcargas@...> wrote:


      This is a huge difference. 
      CPS is 
      the utility serving San Antonio.  
      Houston is a deregulated market where price controls and the person who owns the generation is no longer the same person who transports it or sells it. San Antonio is still a regulated monopoly that can control the entire supply chain and spread any higher incremental solar costs over all of its rate payers.  This does not make it impossible.  It is just that comparing Houston to San Antonio is not an apples to apples comparison at any level.
      James Cargas
      -----Original Message-----
      From: William S <william.swann2@...>
      To: hreg <hreg@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thu, May 9, 2013 5:49 pm
      Subject: [hreg] Re: San Antonio's Solar Farm Update

         What are the impediments to putting in a large solar farm in Houston? I 
      understand that as you go west, the harvest-able sunshine increases. Maybe 15 % 
      increase between Houston and San Antonio. This translates to a lower ROI. 
         Could someone explain the other fundamental difference - namely that CPS is 
      the utility serving San Antonio.  
      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Violeta Archer <violetatx9@...> wrote:
      > Just an update on San Antonio's new 400 MW solar farm. . .
      > Enjoy,
      > Violeta Archer
      > HREG secretary
      > °°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°
      > A Star is Born
      > Move over, California, San Antonio is ready to take the solar spotlight
      > BY CHRIS WARRENPhoto Courtesy: AlphaSpirit/Shutterstock
      > It takes Raul Altamirano all of a few seconds to launch into the many, many 
      reasons he was eager to leave his job as a welder fabricating oil storage tanks. 
      Although he was a foreman, Altamirano was making less than some of the workers 
      he was supervising and the promises his employer made about a raise just never 
      seemed to pan out. Even worse, just to clock in for a day of work required 
      Altamirano to drive nearly 50 miles from his home in south San Antonio to an oil 
      field near Seguin. Besides taking him away from his three young children for 
      long work days, the cost of filling up his truck to make the commute became 
      financially impossible when Altamirano’s overtime hours disappeared. “I 
      sometimes couldn’t afford to go to work,† he says.
      > So he quit. These days, Altamirano spends his working hours in a squat, nearly 
      windowless building on Binz-Engleman Road. And he couldn’t be happier. Not 
      only is the pay better and his commute easy and cheap, Altamirano still gets to 
      work as a welder in the energy industry. The big difference is that his job 
      nowâ€"for Ercam Trackers, the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish companyâ€"is in the 
      still nascent but quickly growing solar industry. “I thought it was a great 
      opportunity,† says Altamirano, who now helps assemble trackers, equipment that 
      move solar panels to follow the trajectory of the sun through the sky in order 
      to produce more energy. “Going green in San Antonio and making jobs here was a 
      big deal to me.†
      > Altamirano will soon have plenty of colleagues. The welder is one of the first 
      members of what will be a hundreds-strongâ€"at least 805, to be preciseâ€"solar 
      workforce arising in the city during the next few years. Signs of this emerging 
      industry were all over the place this winter. At Ercam’s makeshift leased 
      operation, welders like Altamirano busily put together the factory lines that 
      will soon churn out trackers. Elsewhere, Mayor Julián Castro joined a host of 
      hard hat-clad executives in February for a groundbreaking ceremony for Nexolon 
      America’s solar panel factory, which will eventually employ 400 at its site on 
      the former Brooks Air Force Base. On the 26th floor of the Bank of America 
      building downtown, OCI Solar Power, a developer and owner/operator of solar 
      power plants, has opened up its new corporate headquarters, which until June 
      2012 was in Atlanta. The sorts of jobs coming to San Antonio will run the gamut, 
      from blue-collar positions
      >  like Altamirano's welding job, to engineers and designers and finance and 
      administration professionals. “It’s the whole range of employees that are 
      normal in a manufacturing company,† says Manuel Rodriguez, the CEO of Ercam 
      Trackers, which plans to hire 65 new workers by the end of this year and, 
      ultimately, will employ 190 as it builds its own factory and expands production.
      > By Texas standards, San Antonio has been a solar pioneer for years. In 2008 
      the Department of Energy named it one of 25 Solar America Cities, thanks to the 
      city’s comprehensive plan to encourage solar development through financial 
      incentives and streamlining bureaucracy. And for years the nonprofit group Solar 
      San Antonio, under the leadership of its founder Bill Sinkin, who turns 100 this 
      month, has been forging public-private partnerships and educating locals about 
      the great promise of solar. What is happening now, though, is already 
      catapulting San Antonio to national solar prominence. “This consortium of 
      manufacturing will now make it [San Antonio] synonymous with solar,† promises 
      Tony Dorazio, president of OCI Solar Power, as he sits in a conference room with 
      spectacular views of his new hometown. If that does actually come to fruition, 
      it will be in line with the state’s long energy legacy. “It’s big wind, 
      it’s big oil and big gas,†
      >  he says. “So why can’t it be big solar?†
      > San Antonio’s emergence as a key player in the U.S. solar industry didn’t 
      just happen as a result of this being a place that gets a lot of sunshine, 
      although that certainly doesn’t hurt. San Antonio’s gambit to become the 
      city that provides the solar panels and other equipment that gets installed in 
      large fields and atop the roofs of homes and businesses from Arizona to New 
      Jersey started with the city going on a solar buying binge.
      > Last January CPS Energy, the municipal utility that provides electricity to 
      San Antonio’s homeowners and businesses, announced its intention to purchase 
      400 megawatts of electricity from newly constructed solar power plants. While 
      that number may be meaningless to many, it’s impressive in context. It’s 
      enough clean energy to keep the lights, TVs and computers humming in 70,000 
      homes, or for about 10 percent of CPS’ customers. More impressively, 400 
      megawatts is a very large proportion of the entire American solar market, which 
      has routinely doubled in size from one year to the next. For instance, in 2012, 
      a record year for new solar in the United States, the third-largest state market 
      was New Jersey, which added 415 megawatts, followed by Nevada at 198 megawatts. 
      Although it’s always hard to predict future trends, it is safe to say for the 
      next few years, San Antonio will be a much larger market for solar than the vast 
      majority of states. Not
      >  bad for one city.
      > The many reasons CPS decided to go big with solar include the call for an 
      increase in solar power in the city’s SA2020 plan, as well as CPS’ own 
      Vision2020 goal to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 
      2020. According to CPS President and CEO Doyle Beneby, the heart of the decision 
      was economic. One of the big expenses utilities face comes from meeting federal 
      clean air regulations. By building a lot of solar, which emits none of the 
      sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that must be limited, CPS can avoid spending 
      hundreds of millions of dollars to retrofit its already existing coal plants to 
      comply with federal law.
      > The benefits of solar are also helpful financially in other ways, particularly 
      in meeting “peak demand†â€"between 5 and 7 p.m. in the summer when people 
      get home from work and crank up their air conditioners and other appliances and 
      electronics. If this spike in the need for energy outstrips the supply CPS has 
      available, the utility would have to buy extremely expensive energy from the 
      open market to keep its customers cool and happy. Solar will be especially 
      helpful during times of peak demand because panels can crank out electricity 
      when it’s most desperately needed.
      > While all of this was essential to CPS’s decision, Beneby says that he also 
      saw this as a rare opportunity to create a new industry in San Antonio. “We 
      have used it as a means to attract economic development here,† he says. “We 
      were very keen on jobs; we were very keen on capital investment. In other words, 
      we really wanted [companies] to drop anchor here and make a commitment to create 
      a manufacturing base here.† CPS opted not to take on the construction involved 
      in the five phases of its solar initiative. Instead, it issued a request for 
      proposal to the global solar industryâ€"one that attracted interest from more 
      than 100 companiesâ€"to come to San Antonio, set up shop and begin work to 
      fulfill CPS’s large solar order. When the bids and jockeying were all 
      completed, OCI Solar emerged in July 2012 as the winner, along with its partner 
      companies Ercam Trackers, Nexolon and Kaco New Energy, a company that makes 
      equipment that converts the
      >  direct current (DC) energy solar produces into the alternating current (AC) 
      type needed to run DVD players and dishwashers. Besides creating at least 805 
      solar-related manufacturing jobs, the deal promises to deliver $700 million in 
      annual economic impact and $1 billion in construction investment.
      > Of course, even one very large project does not a long-term industry make. Jin 
      Soo Noh, director of business development for Nexolon America, the company that 
      will produce solar panels, says that San Antonio provides some much needed 
      breathing room to enter the North and South American markets. In other words, 
      the big order of panels from CPS will keep its factory here busy while it 
      competes to supply the equipment needed for solar plants elsewhere. “We can 
      secure the market for years thanks to the good project between CPS and OCI Solar 
      Power,† he says. “This gives us the opportunity to penetrate into the U.S. 
      market but also the South American market, which is emerging.† San Antonio’s 
      location near southwestern states, such as Arizona and New Mexico, where huge 
      solar power plants are going into the deserts, and the quickly growing markets 
      of Chile and Brazil is also regarded as ideal.
      > If everything works as planned, outsiders will someday think of the power of 
      the sun just as much as they do the Spurs and the Alamo when they contemplate 
      San Antonio. “We want an industry that stays here for decades,† says OCI 
      Solar’s Dorazio.  “It’s going to happen.†
      > Source:  http://www.sanantoniomag.com/SAM/May-2013/A-Star-is-Born/
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