When a landfill is closed and capped, it can be hard to redevelop. But the city of Farmers Branch had an innovative solution for their capped site last year: Turning it into a city-owned solar farm that will generate “more electricity than the city uses to power its buildings and streetlights.”
Farmers Branch plans to be the first Texas city to power all its facilities with 100% locally generated renewable electricity. Last year, the city signed an agreement to lease the site to New York-based BQ Energy Development, which will design, build, and operate the 6.5 megawatt solar farm. In return, the city is entering an agreement with BQ Energy to purchase the electricity created from the panels at a fixed price to power 100% of its electricity usage at city facilities, according to the city.
Benefitting both the city and the grid
“Dozens of rows of photovoltaic panels will be installed in a tight configuration. They’ll absorb energy from the sun, convert it into electricity, and send it to the Texas power grid for distribution,” the city says in an explanatory video.about the solar farm, to be build at Valley View Lane and the President George Bush Turnpike. “Our solar farm will guarantee the city an affordable electricity rate for 20 years, reduce air pollution, and make Farmers Branch a leader in renewable energy.”
Last week, Farmers Branch Mayor Terry Lynne updated WFAA on the project, which is slated to break ground early next year and be operational as soon as Fall 2024.
“We saw an opportunity to help benefit the electric grid and benefit the city at the same time,” Lynne told WFAA. “The economic benefits of that are huge. I think it’s really exciting. It shows that cities can be progressive and innovative.”
Solar farm won’t create power for city residents, but…
While the city-owned solar farm won’t create power for Farmers Branch residents, the city is offering other programs to help make the city as a whole more sustainable. “City leaders encourage residents to take advantage of the Farmers Branch Power Switch and Solar Switch programs, which offer renewable energy options at a volume pricing and a way to add solar panels to homes,” the city says on its website. More info on the Power Switch program can be found at fbpowerswitch.com.
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