Houston buys into solar power feel goodism

Fuel Fix:
A West Texas solar farm financed in part by the city of Houston started generating power last week and has secured Houston’s position as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the country.

French energy company Engie developed and runs the SolaireHolman solar farm in Alpine. The farm has more than 200,000 solar panels that stretch across 360 acres, according to a news release from Engie.

The city will pay 4.486 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy through a power purchase agreement, which requires monthly payments over 20 years for the value of the solar power and does not require the city to own the solar equipment.
While the electric grid cannot deliver pure solar power to Houston, the city is effectively investing in renewable energy by helping finance the project. Reliant is the city’s retail electric provider, and brings electricity to city-run enterprises, like the Hermann Park Zoo, a public works building, wastewater treatment plants and some of the airport terminals at the Bush Intercontinental Airport. (Emphasis added.)
So, Houston feels good about investing in a French power project for the "energy capitol of the world."   Not addressed is the inability of solar energy facilities to modulate their out[put to meet demand.  That is a weakness they still do not have an answer for and big batteries are unlikely to solve that problem.  At best solar is a supplemental power source on a sunny day.  It is a surprisingly labor intensive business that produces a very modest flow of energy.


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