Solar Panels. Image: Flickr user Duke Energy.

San Antonio partners with South Korean firms to build solar project


San Antonio municipal utility CPS Energy has partnered with two South Korean firms to build a series of solar photovoltaic power plants in what will be the largest municipal solar power field in the US. The plants will provide a total capacity of 400 MW of power when completed, enough to power 70,000 homes or approximately 10% of the utility’s electric customers in San Antonio.

The first plant, which will produce 50 MW of power, is projected to be completed by mid 2013, with the rest of the project to be on line by 2016. The two Korean firms are OCI Solar Power, a subsidiary of South Korean company OCI Co Ltd., and South Korean semiconductor and solar panel manufacturer Nexolon Co Ltd.

Beyond expanding San Antonio’s renewable energy production and moving Texas into the top 5 of US solar power producing states, the deal is expected to create more than 800 professional and technical jobs in San Antonio from the creation of new North American headquarters for both Nexolon and OCI Solar Power and a new $100 million Nexolon high-tech manufacturing facility. About 75% of the jobs will be in the renewable energy sector at an annual payroll of nearly $40 million. In total, the partnership is expected to bring $1 billion in construction investment, $700 million in annual economic impact, and a 25 year power purchase agreement to San Antonio.