• February 18, 2020

Solar energy farm completed in Andrews - Odessa American: Local News

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Solar energy farm completed in Andrews

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  • Lapetus Solar Project

    From left, Michael Loenen, 7X Energy CEO Clay Butler and Todd Bartlina look over some of the solar panels. Duke Energy Renewables held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their recently completed 100-megawatt Lapetus Solar Project northwest of Andrews.

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020 4:45 pm

More than 50 people attended a ribbon cutting for Duke Energy Renewables Lapetus Solar Project outside of Andrews Thursday afternoon under a cloudy sky.

The 100 megawatt project is the first large scale solar facility in Andrews County. It is located on 800 acres outside of Andrews and contains more than 340,000 solar panels.

The energy generated from the project will be delivered to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid and is being sold under three multiyear power purchase agreements to Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. on Behalf of CoServ Electric and seven other distribution cooperative members.

7X Energy originated and developed the solar project with Duke Energy Renewables and reported that more than 240 jobs were generated during the peak construction period in February of 2019. 7X Energy CEO Clay Butler said that the project is going to benefit Andrews County because the energy will go through Andrews County.

“All this electricity produced here is actually serving local load.”

Butler said that he first visited the spot around five years ago and that the community has always been very welcoming. Butler said other projects amounting to 4000 acres of land will add to the tax base of the area.

“That will go to support the county and the infrastructure,” he said. While the project will produce three new jobs for the community, Butler said that the project is producing revenue for the county through taxes.

Morris Haynes, the Andrews Economic Development Corporation director said that the county is fortunate to have the transmission systems that can accommodate these projects.

“It’s awesome to get the first renewable project started in Andrews County. We’re going from zero megawatts to a hundred probably within a year, there’s going to be 1200 megawatts in Andrews county.”

Haynes said with other projects in progress, there still opportunity for more projects in the area and that the constraints come in on the transmission grid and how many megawatts the grid can handle.

In a press release, Duke Energy Renewables President Rob Caldwell said, “Texas ranks fourth in the country for solar energy. We’re thrilled that Lapetus Solar is now online and will contribute to the growth of the community’s clean energy facilities.”

7X energy reported on their website that they estimate the project will inject $20 million in property tax revenue into Andrews County during the life of the project. The website also details that in the first year of the project’s operation it will reduce the CO2 emissions of more than 19,559 homes’ electricity use for one year.

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