PenTex Energy is one of five electric distribution cooperatives in the state to ink a deal to purchase a total of seven megawatts of distribution-scale solar energy.

Through the 20-year purchase agreement, the Muenster-based company will be able to deliver new, locally produced clean energy to its members, according to a new release from Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute.

The project incorporates medium-sized solar farms near communities that will use the power, according to a spokesperson for PenTex.

Once built and online by June 2020, the project is expected to provide a cost-effective supply of clean energy to power homes and businesses in Cooke, Denton, Grayson, Montague and Wise counties.

PenTex, along with four other electric co-ops, signed agreements with Canadian renewable energy developer Saturn Power Corporation, totaling 7 MW-DC of new solar projects across the state.

Saturn Power will develop, construct, own and operate the project. Rocky Mountain Institute, acting as the buyer’s representative for PenTex and the other electric co-ops, selected Saturn Power through a competitive bidding process, officials said.

Other buyers include Bartlett Electric Cooperative, Comanche Electric Cooperative, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative and South Plains Electric Cooperative.

The solar arrays for each of the buyers will be sited on the cooperatives’ distribution systems, thereby avoiding Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) demand and generation capacity charges from their generation and transmission providers, according to the release.

“Developing these solar energy installations makes a lot of sense for our members,” Bryan Lightfoot, general manager and CEO of Bartlett Electric Cooperative, said in the release. “Not only will we be providing more clean, locally sourced energy to our community and hardening our grid, but we expect to save money over the life of these projects by becoming more self-sufficient.”

The release states that Texas is a particularly attractive market for distribution-scale solar development for a number of reasons, including the state’s strong solar resource and high per-capita carbon intensity. In addition to the recently announced developments, RMI and partners in the state are in late-stage discussions to facilitate additional distribution-scale solar procurements.

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