A subsidiary of Xcel Energy, one of the largest electric utilities in the USA, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 200MW of PV capacity in the state of Texas.
Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS), one of the four subsidiary companies that make up Xcel Energy, is soliciting proposals for PV projects until 10 October.
It did note however that depending on the quality of bids – and other factors including updates to the company's forecasts, availability of transmission lines and regulatory changes – the company could elect to acquire more or fewer resources than the 200MW.
According to SPS, it is interested in projects that could be operational by 31 December 2016. A recent study by GTM Research claimed that owing to the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) drop-off in 2017, it expected to see a “huge boom” in installations in 2016, followed by a “complete collapse”.
Successful projects under the SPS tender would be contracted to power purchase agreements (PPAs). Based in Amarillo, Texas, SPS serves around 383,000 customers, serving regions of Texas, New Mexico, as well as parts of Oklahoma and Kansas. Parent company Xcel Energy has around 3.5 million electricity and 1.9 million natural gas customers in its service areas.
In a July report on utilities and clean energy deployment, Xcel Energy was ranked second highest for renewable energy sales among investor-owned US electric utilities. The lead author of that report, Bryce Yonker of Clean Edge Consulting, said it showed that, “The marketplace is changing and the utilities are seeing that, and they’re shifting their business models to accommodate how they can bring renewables and energy efficiency on line.”
Texas was noted by US trade body Solar Energy Industries’ Association (SEIA) as one of the US states with the most untapped solar potential and the state got the first solar industry group of its own, the Texas Solar Power Association (TSPA), in June. TSPA was formed by a consortium of solar energy companies.
Meanwhile another Texas-based utility, El Paso Electric, said back in the same month that using a mixture of natural gas and solar, it would be able to not only meet Environment Protection Agency (EPA) standards on greenhouse gas emissions by 2016 but could also be completely “coal-free” by then.