About the Project
The City of San Benito has constructed a model solar showcase project at the city’s new six MGD water treatment plant at 1315 Turner Road. The new facility won the Texas Renewable Energy Association’s Project of the Year’s annual award on November 11 in Austin, Texas.
The Texas General Land Office, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, awarded the City of San Benito $325,000 to build the 45 kilowatt-hour project, the largest solar-powered project on the Texas-Mexico border. As a model project, the facility provides about 10-percent of the total power needed for the plant operations. The entire effort was designed to help determine solar project practicality and sustainability of solar power in South Texas.
"It’s about time we put this hot, Texas sun to work for us," said Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office said at the grand opening ceremonies at the project site. "If this project works as well as we think it will, it will stand as a practical example of the potential of solar energy in Texas."
Purpose & Goals
- To create an emission-free, solar-powered energy source to provide as much power as possible to the city’s new water treatment plant
- Design should be low-maintenance, high-value for solar distributed generation
- To serve as model for other NAD Bank projects
- Help evaluate suitability of photovoltaics to shave peak loads in grid-connected applications and a least-cost option for off-grid applications
- Generate data currently not available for powering municipal water and wastewater facilities
Future Project Plans
The project also contains an educational unit that includes a Kiosk display, on-site educational unit and materials. In this age of uncertain future energy sources, it is time to work for answers. This is a demonstration project. We hope to help generate data that is currently unavailable for powering municipal water and wastewater facilities. If it is viable, more entities will jump on the bandwagon, and we will see costs decrease and then, we will have all the answers we optimistically hope to realize for our families, and our future.