800 solar jobs heading to San Antonio

CPS Energy enters into agreement with OCI Solar Power

SAN ANTONIO - Against a backdrop of a cloudless sky Wednesday morning, CPS Energy announced a new agreement with OCI Solar Power to build solar panel parts and power plants in the area, providing 400 megawatts of power a year in addition to adding hundreds of jobs to the area.

"It's sunny today and I think that's also a metaphor of where San Antonio is headed," said mayor Julian Castro at a press conference at La Villita. "I believe that what we have in San Antonio right now is a city that believes in itself, that understands that it represents the new place and the new face of the the American dream that is growing, that is on the right track."

The announcement comes nearly a year after CPS Energy began discussions to bring more renewable energy resources to the area. Initial plans called for 50 MW of power annually but the largest municipally-owned utility shot well beyond that mark.

"We got so much interest that we decided to step back and increase the stake to 400 (megawatts) and we went through a lot of great proposals," said Doyle Beneby, CPS Energy's President and CEO.

The agreement also gets the city closer to the SA2020 goal of 1,500 MW of renewable energy resources a year. OCI announced it will move its headquarters to San Antonio along with a manufacturing plant. Another parts supplier, Nexolon, will also move to the area. Both moves are expected to bring 800 jobs to the area.

"This opportunity is very exciting because it's really the cornerstone of our emerging green energy business in North America," said OCI Solar Power Board Chair Kirk Milling.

Wednesday's announcement follows a similar one last summer when the city reached an agreement with five other solar companies that will move to the area, bringing over 200 jobs.

"Sorta of keeps some of our best and brightest here in San Antonio so when they complete work at some of our finer universities, maybe they can step into some careers like we hope to get started with our new energy economy," added Beneby.

Solar panel construction should begin early next year with groundbreaking on solar plants expected in 2016.


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