Austin City Council approves 30-MW solar power plant, chooses Gemini Solar


The Austin (TX) City Council approved a 30-MW solar power plant Thursday, choosing Gemini Solar Development Co. to build the site for Austin Energy, the area’s municipal electric utility. The plant will be constructed on 300 acres of city-owned land located approximately 25 miles east of town.

The 30-MW PV array, which will be equipped with thousands of Suntech crystalline-silicon modules, should be operational by the end of 2010 and provide enough electricity to power 5000 homes.

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Gemini Solar–a joint venture between Chinese PV manufacturer Suntech Power and MMA Renewable Ventures (recently bought by Fotowatio)–will own and operate the solar power plant and sell the electricity to Austin Energy for $10 million per year over 25 years under a nonescalating power purchase agreement.

The Austin council launched a Climate Protection Plan in 2007, which has a goal of providing 30% of the city’s energy via renewable sources by 2020.

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