Owing to reduced costs of solar technology, the vast open plains of its Permian Basin and attractive federal tax credits of 26%, Texas is transforming into a regional leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation, and will be home to one-third of utility-scale solar projects being constructed in the U.S. in the next two years. In 2020, the state’s grid-connected PV capacity stood at 7,784 MW, a meteoric rise from just 594 MW a half-decade prior. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S.’s second-largest state will add 10 GW of utility-scale solar power in the next two years, and is set to compete with California as a major domestic renewables player.
Roadrunner Solar Farm – 497 MW
Utilizing over 1.2 million bifacial solar modules, the Roadrunner Solar Farm – located in Upton County – serves as the largest operational solar project in the state. The facility is estimated to be able to supply approximately 1,200 GWh of clean power per year, in addition to eliminating 785,000 tons of annual carbon emissions. Construction began in February 2019, with the first, 252-MW phase coming online in December 2019 and the project reaching completion last September.
Upton-2 Solar Farm – 212.5 MW
The Upton 2 Solar Farm is the second-largest solar power plant in the state, comprising 718,000 solar panels and generating enough power to supply approximately 56,700 households. The facility includes a 10-MW/42-MWH lithium-ion energy storage system and its battery system represents the largest energy storage project in Texas and seventh-largest in the U.S. Owned by Luminant, the power-generating subsidiary of Vistra Energy, the solar plant came online in June 2018.
Roserock Solar Farm – 212 MW
Spanning 1,300 acres in Pecos Country, the Roserock Solar Farm leverages 700,000 Canadian-built solar photovoltaic modules mounted on single axis trackers to generate enough power to supply 30,000 households. The plant is owned by Southern Power and Recurrent Energy and construction began in November 2015. When the plant achieved commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2016, it became the largest solar project in Texas at the time of completion.
Buckthorn Solar Farm – 202 MW
Owned by NRG Energy and operated by NRG Renewables, the Buckthorn Solar Farm distributes bulk electrical power to Pecos County’s electrical grid. Notably, the solar plant supplies 100% of the energy consumed by nearby Georgetown, after the city signed an agreement in 2015 to be the exclusive buyer of power from the facility. Situated on 1,250 acres, the plant consists of 1.7 million solar panels mounted on a single-axis tracking system that maintain a 90-degree angle to the sun to optimize power production.
Holstein Solar Project – 200 MW
Acquired from 8minute Solar Energy, the Holstein Solar Project is the largest-scale commercial entry for Duke Energy Renewables to date. The project represents the fourth solar generation venture launched in Texas by the company, which aims to support the development of the state’s fast-growing solar energy market. Located in Nolan County, the solar farm consists of over 709,000 solar panels spanning approximately 1,300 acres, and supplies and sells power through a 12-year term hedge agreement.