Rosendin’s Renewable Energy Group (REG) and Tokyo Gas America have begun building a 500 MWac/631 MWdc solar power project in Texas. The Aktina Renewable Power Project will be brought online in blocks starting in mid-2021 with energy sold to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) wholesale market.
The facility will include around 1.4 million solar modules across 4,000 acres in Wharton County, around 60 miles southwest of Houston.
Over the past 15 years, REG has delivered more than 3 GW of solar project installations in the U.S. and Canada, with more than 1 GW under construction and another 2 GW in development. Tokyo Gas is on track to own more than 1.36 GW of total renewable energy capacity globally and aims to grow that portfolio to 5 GW by 2030.
The greater Houston area is something of a hotbed for solar and energy storage development.
In late March, S&B USA said it would acquire 100% of the Brazoria West Solar Project, a 260 MW project about 40 miles southwest of Houston. Construction is expected to start in the second quarter, with a commercial operation date slated for the first half of 2022. The project will supply power to the Houston area; it has secured one commercial and industrial power purchase agreement (PPA) and another PPA with an energy trading company.
Earlier in March, an entity linked to Tesla was reported to be developing a 100 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage facility south of Houston. Gambit Energy Storage could have the grid-connected facility in service by June. The project would include lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4 or “LFP”) batteries, similar to those used in portable electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phones, electric bikes, and cars. The project site is near a 138 kV substation in Angleton, Texas, and would offer black start capability to help the ERCOT grid recover after a blackout.
Texas has at least a dozen solar sites in operation that are producing at least 100 MW of power, according to pv magazine’s reporting. The state is projected to be No. 2 in terms of new solar capacity over the next five years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
A 2019 report from ERCOT outlined 43.5 GW of solar project applications in its interconnection queue, 5.1 GW of which had interconnection agreements and planned to complete construction by the end of 2020.