Pflugerville Solar Farm breaks ground, will be largest in nation

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by STEVE ALBERTS / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on December 15, 2010 at 6:13 PM

One of the largest solar farms in the nation broke ground Wednesday in Northeast Travis County, 15 miles east of the City of Pflugerville.

“This has been a dream for us,” said Daven Mahta, CEO of RRE Austin Solar.

That dream started one year ago for Mahta.  On Dec. 15, 2009, the CEO of RRE Austin Solar,  landed in Austin to look for a site to build a flagship solar farm.  After seeing farmland located along Manda Carlson Road in Northeast Travis County, he found it.

“We made up our mind that this is where we were going to build our flagship solar farm,” Mahta said.

On Dec. 15, 2010, his company held a ground breaking ceremony for Pflugerville Solar Farm.

“We are fortunate to break ground on the same day we landed; on Dec. 15," Mahta said.

The solar farm will produce 60 megawatts and use more than 400,000 solar panels to generate electricity from the sun. That is enough to power between 4,500 to 7,000 homes.  Mahta says it will look like a lake.

Pflugerville made a deal with RRE; the city agreed not to annex the land for 30 years. In return, Pflugerville's name will be used on the project. Plus, the city will get $750,000 worth of solar panels to place on city buildings around town.

The project will create about 350 construction jobs over the next two to three years. Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman says it will pump millions into the local economy.

“We estimate that over the 30 year contract, it will be about $2.5 million,” Coleman said.  “With as big as this project is going to be, there are going to be supporting businesses that come to town and Pflugerville plans to be first in line to lure those businesses into our community and let them understand how much we want them.”

Mayor Coleman says this project lines up with the city’s green initiatives.

“We’re open for green business,” Coleman said.  “The city council has made a concerted decision that’s the direction we want to go.  We have a green energy park underdevelopment now and we’re going to ask green energy companies to go into that park. Pflugerville is going to become known as the solar city and Texas is going to become known as a solar state.

The company has invested $200 million in the solar farm project. 

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