Duke starts production at 200MWac Texas solar park

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The project is the second 200-MWac Texas solar facility that Duke Energy Renewables has brought online this year. Image: Duke Energy.

Duke Energy Renewables has switched on its 200MWac Rambler Solar project in Texas, bringing its total PV portfolio in the state to over 500MWac in operation.

Located west of San Angelo, the park contains more than 733,000 Canadian Solar high-efficiency bifacial modules, with energy being sold to an unidentified customer under a 15-year agreement.

Signal Energy carried out construction of the facility, which is expected to bring “several million dollars” to Tom Green County over its 40-year lifespan.

Duke Energy Renewables acquired Rambler Solar in September 2019 from Recurrent Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar.

Inauguration of the facility comes after Duke Energy Renewables and 8minute Solar Energy completed the 200MWac Holstein Solar project in Nolan County, Texas, earlier this month.

“We’re pleased to continue our expansion of solar energy resources in Texas, which is experiencing an increasing demand for power,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Renewables. The Rambler Solar project, he added, will bring “significant economic benefit” to the state.

These Texas developments form part of efforts by Duke Energy, the parent company of Duke Energy Renewables, to double its green energy capacity to 16GW in the next five years and aim for net-zero status by 2050.

To reach the 16GW target, the utility needs to increase renewables’ share of its total output from 12% to 20%. It would still need to maintain existing gas and nuclear power plants to preserve “reliability and affordability”, the company said.

While Duke has provided no specific technology breakdown for the additional 8GW, the company clearly favours the Texan market for expanding its solar portfolio. Rob Caldwell, the ex-president of Duke Energy Renewables, said the Lone Star State has “some of the best” solar resources in the US.

A recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says the surge in new utility-scale solar is expected to irreversibly alter Texas’s daily dynamics and drive more coal plants offline by 2025.

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