80 Megawatt Solar Project Headed to Andrews County

80 Megawatt Solar Project Headed to Andrews County

ANDREWS COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Plans are in place to bring a solar farm to Andrews County. The $100 million investment will provide another option for electricity.

The exact location of where this solar project has yet to be determined but the city tells NewsWest 9 that project officials are eyeballing some property in northern Andrews County.

"We all know how these summers get and we've been having some rolling blackouts in different places, so there's always people looking for new and different ways to provide electricity," said Wes Burnett, Director of Economic Development of Andrews.

Andrews officials say the solar project named "Andrews 7" will likely be property near County Road 8000 and Northwest 3001. The land is currently vacant and isn't generating any property taxes.

"The life, the term of a project of a solar farm is 25 or 30 years, I think. So you're talking about a lot of years of added value to your tax base that's not reliant upon the price of oil or anything like that," said Burnett.

One Megawatt from solar energy can power 100 homes for one hour. "Andrews 7" will consist of 80 Megawatts with the power to light up 8,000 homes.

The project will bring 200 to 400 jobs for the year-long construction.

The county is talking about an 80% tax abatement for seven years and other entities are in tax abatement negotiations with the company Solar Core, too.

"Our county, schools and hospital, our city and economic development are all trying to look towards the future and different things to diversify from the oil and gas economy but also to plan for the future in many different ways," said Burnett.

Andrews County News reports the solar plant will provide the county with $100 million in valuation and $1.3 million in estimated tax payments over 25 years.

Officials aren't ruling out wind power, either.

The city tells NewsWest 9 that construction could begin later this year. If so, the solar project could be complete by late 2016.