NOLAN COUNTY, Texas (KRBC/KTAB) – A sea of solar panels in Nolan County is helping provide power for the State of Texas.
“Sometimes when you drive down that road and look to your right, you think there’s someone building a new lake because of all the shine that’s coming off of it, looks like water,” Ken Becker Executive Director of the Sweetwater Economic Development said.
But it’s not a lake you’d see driving out here in Nolan County. Instead it’s over 700,000 solar panels spread out over 1,300 acres.
“It can provide enough electricity for up to 40,000 homes, and when you think about that, that’s a lot,” he said.
But that power isn’t for our consumption, completely. He said in all of North America, there are three grid systems.
“It’s kind of the western connect, which is the western half of Canada, the United States, the eastern connect. And then Texas, Texas is its own grid system,” he said.
The power produced stays right here, something Texas has been focusing on more in the past 11 years.
“When you look at solar, I think Texas is now is up to the seventh largest solar producing state,” he said.
But that hasn’t always been the case.
“Not that many years ago, even though we have a lot of sun, the cost of solar was just too high,” he said.
But just like other renewable resources, Becker says the more you make, the lower the cost gets, and the more people will utilize it.
However, it’s not a fool-proof plan. What happens if we get a cloudy day, or week?
“Because if you don’t have the sun shining and you’re only using solar, then you need a backup power of some sort to cover when you’re not able to get the solar power,” he said.
But it’s not the only resource they’re using to provide an extra security net.
“We like all of the above. We like gas, we like oil, we like everything,” he said. “It’s just a great way to have a good portfolio for a lot of different mixes.”