Power play

2 Dallas neighbors plug into $1.6 billion solar project in Texas

2 Dallas neighbors plug into $1.6 billion solar project in Texas

Denton Square
Denton has agreed to buy nearly 6 percent of the power generated by the 1,310-megawatt project. Photo courtesy of Denton Main St Association

Municipal utilities in Denton and Garland will draw power from what’s billed as the largest solar project in the United States.

Chicago-based Invenergy announced November 18 that work is underway on a $1.6 billion solar project in Northeast Texas that will be capable of supplying energy for 300,000 homes. The project, being built in Lamar, Red River, and Franklin counties, is set to begin producing power in 2023.

Among the customers of the Samson Solar Energy Center are Denton Municipal Electric and Garland Power & Light. Denton has agreed to buy nearly 6 percent of the power (75 megawatts) generated by the 1,310-megawatt project, and Garland has agreed to buy almost 2 percent (25 megawatts).

Denton Municipal Electric already is buying or has committed to buying more than 460 megawatts of power from renewable energy sources. In 2018, the city set a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy for all power customers by this year.

Two years ago, Garland Power & Light (GP&L) enabled customers to purchase 100 percent renewable energy from wind and solar sources in Texas.

“Customer interest in renewable energy has been growing because these power resources contribute to preserving the environment and are sustainable,” Jeff Janke, general manager and CEO of GP&L, said in 2018.

The solar project’s biggest customer is Dallas-based AT&T, which has committed to buying nearly 40 percent (500 megawatts) of the solar project’s generating capacity. AT&T’s deal is said to be biggest corporate purchase of solar power in the U.S.

“At AT&T, we believe renewable energy is good for the planet, for our business, and for the communities we serve,” Scott Mair, president of AT&T Technology & Operations, says in a release.

Other customers of the Samson Solar Energy Center are Honda, McDonald’s, Google, The Home Depot, and the City of Bryan. The project is roughly 100 miles northeast of Dallas.