CPS Energy is always exploring new ways to deliver enhanced service reliability to its customers. As part of the Flexible Path, company and community leaders broke ground this week on a $16.3 million solar and battery storage project to help stockpile energy for future use.
This innovative venture, which was subsidized by a $3 million grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is a partnership with Southwest Research Institute to install a 5-megawatt solar farm with racks filled with 10 megawatts of batteries on SwRI’s property at 9800 W. Commerce St. Crews from Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES) will build the farm. Construction is slated to be completed in April 2019.
Most of the 48-acre property will be taken up by solar panels, but a 9,000-square-foot fenced-in area will hold four battery units, each of which will hold enough batteries to power about 410 homes. There will also be an educational facility open to the public on property in the future.
The solar farm will charge the batteries during high sunshine hours in the early afternoon and the stored energy will be available for release into the power grid during peak hours of demand in the late afternoon and evening in the summer and early morning in the winter. These batteries provide an alternative to using fossil fuels.
“Rather than building the next new big generation plant … we are saying hey, let’s be flexible and think about new technologies and how they work with renewables,” said David Jungman, Senior Director of Business and Economic Development. “We are showing how we can use renewables in similar ways to how we’re using current, conventional fossil fuel generation.”
CPS Energy is dedicated to tapping into renewable energy sources to make up more of its power supply, and through Flexible Path, company leaders aim for at least 5 percent of the energy it generates by 2040 to be stored in batteries and new technology.
“Things are changing, and technology is entering a realm where industry can take advantage of it,” said President and CEO Paula Gold-Williams at the groundbreaking. “We anticipate that we will be able to serve this community better by taking new technologies into consideration.”
The educational facility will be available to instruct CPS Energy employees as well as the general public on renewable energy sources.
“This is the project on what the future is going to look like,” said James Boston, Manager of Market Intelligence. “This educational site will be used for our employees internally but we also want to educate our community so that they’re engaged with these technologies.”
Ultimately, the project is meant to benefit both the environment and CPS Energy customers.
“All of this is going to help us make a difference for our community, our customers and our people,” said Paula. “We are excited to be part of this future for San Antonio.”