West Texas residents now have the largest community solar facility in the Lone Star State.
The El Paso Electric Facility will provide power to 1,500 customers who like solar but don’t necessarily want the panels on their homes.
“I think for our customers that want to be part of community solar, they didn’t want to deal with the maintenance. They’re looking at the future, and they’re saying, ‘I want to invest in this facility, but I don’t want to deal with it on my roof,’” Eddie Gutierrez, a spokesman for the El Paso Electric Facility, said.
The automated system tilts to catch the sun. at the end of the day, these panels will face the opposite direction.
The panels produce DC power, and it’s converted to AC. A transformer converts to the proper voltage. The power then goes through two safety checks and into the grid.
There’s a charge of about $21 per month per kilowatt. That’s slightly more than traditional power, but it’s also a flat charge. So, if traditional power prices increase, solar is guaranteed to stay the same.
“So, if there are future changes in our rate cases, or there’s changes to fuel prices, you’re not impacted by that change,” Gutierrez said.
Community solar is only available to Texas customers -- but El Paso Electric is planning to build a similar facility in New Mexico.