The farm, called Oberon Solar, is located on a 5,000 acre site in west Ector County near Monahans. 174 Power Global President, Henry Yun, said Oberon will generate about 150,000 megawatts of energy, enough to power about 30,000 households.
Households will primarily be what the farm powers, 174 Power Global Senior Director Deborah Reyes said, as well as some commercial and industrial buildings.
The way it works, Reyes said, is their company will be selling the power generated to counter-parties, other energy providers, who will then provide the solar energy to where it’s needed most in the area. Despite the switch, Reyes said customers shouldn’t see their power bills go up.
“In general, since energy prices have been coming down, we expect customers won’t be seeing a price increase,” Reyes said.
Yun said his company recognizes solar as a piece of the energy solution for the future, and said his company will continue to look for future solar projects in Texas. This is their second project in Texas after a 236 megawatt project located in Pecos County.
174 Power Global acquired a number of tax abatements for the project from local entities including Ector County, the Ector County Hospital District and Odessa College. The land could wind up generating more revenue for Ector County, as Odessa Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Wes Burnett previously said the land was only generating about $1,500 a year due to an agricultural exemption.
State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Midland) was also in attendance and spoke before the groundbreaking. Landgraf said the Permian Basin has been known as an epicenter in the U.S. for fossil fuel production, and now there would be even greater expansion of solar energy throughout the region.
“We have more potential for solar power here than virtually any other area in the country,” Landgraf said. “The Permian Basin is leading the way in our country’s march toward energy independence.”
Landgraf said he used to pray for rain, but now he’ll just have to take whatever comes, rain or shine.
The project began in October 2016, and Reyes said it is expected to be completed and operational by the first quarter of 2020.