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San Antonio's Solar Farm Update

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  • Violeta Archer
    Just an update on San Antonio s new 400 MW solar farm. . . Enjoy, Violeta Archer HREG secretary
    Message 1 of 6 , May 8, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      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 WARREN
      Photo 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 now—for Ercam Trackers, the U.S. subsidiary of a Spanish company—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-strong—at least 805, to be precise—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”—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 industry—one that attracted interest from more than 100 companies—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.”

    • William S
      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 %
      Message 2 of 6 , May 9, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        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/
        >
      • James Cargas
        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
        Message 3 of 6 , May 9, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          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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        • Kent Seuser
          James, Would it be more prudent to focus on solar concentrating collectors to operate commercial chillers since over50% of all electricity in houston is used
          Message 4 of 6 , May 10, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            James,
            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?
            Kent

            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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          • William Swann
            I assume your comment above, about chillers, is driven by the need to choose technologies that have the quickest payoff. I heard that Centerpointis a large
            Message 5 of 6 , May 10, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              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:
               

              James,
              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?
              Kent

              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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              --
              Thanks, Bill S
              Ph 832-338-3080
              www.watt-tracker.com
              www.promotingevs.com
            • Kent Seuser
              James, Yes. Roi is fast w thermal solar. In houston the greatest obstacle to grid tied solar is the number of shade events. Kent Sent from my iPhone ...
              Message 6 of 6 , May 11, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                James, 
                Yes.  Roi is fast w thermal solar.  In houston the greatest obstacle to grid tied solar is the number of shade events.  
                Kent

                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:
                 

                James,
                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?
                Kent

                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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