By Geena Martinez
PECOS COUNTY - Pecos County is getting a boost to their local economy. On Friday, officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new solar energy project.
"To be the first one to do something is always a lot of fun," Doug May, with the Ft. Stockton Economic Development Corporation, said.
It was a big day in Pecos County as the community welcomed a new industry into the area.
"We're trying to diversify our energy base," May said. "We've done it with the wind and now we're trying to do it with the solar."
County leaders and project officials with First Solar Inc. broke ground at the Barilla solar site. The development is the first of its kind in Pecos County and in the state.
"We are building it without a power purchase agreement so typically in an infrastructure project like this we'll first get a power purchase agreement with somebody that's gonna commit to buy the power long term," Tim Rebhorn, with First Solar Inc., said.
"It's a significant risk on First Solar's behalf to do that but we're thrilled to death that they did," May said.
That's because the project will have a big impact on Pecos County.
"It's creating tax revenue for the county," Rebhorn said. "It's over a million dollars going to the local school district that they'll be able to keep."
"They're kind of the wildcatter in the solar energy in the State of Texas," Pecos County Judge, Joe Shuster, said. "They're the first here and they'll be many to follow then."
Not only will this project help out the community but it's also going to help out the environment. We're told it'll cut back on CO2 emissions that will be equivalent to removing 4,000 cars off the road.
The 22 mega-watt site will produce enough energy to power about 3,800 homes and there's plenty of room to grow.
"They've actually secured enough land to build 200 and 400 mega-watts so we look forward to them expanding in the future," May said.
Officials on both ends said they're excited and look forward to this new venture.