OPPOSITION: Local businesses leaders
BACKGROUND: In March 2009, the City of Austin, Texas gave preliminary approval for Gemini’s proposed 30-megawatt solar plant that would be located near Austin. The 300 acres of photovoltaic solar panels would be able to produce enough energy to power 5,000 homes a day while eliminating 30,000 tons of CO2 a year. If the plans stay on track, the project should be completed by the end of 2010.
The development will be comprised of 220,000 solar panels which Gemini will be receiving from Chinese manufacturer Suntech Power Holdings. There has been some opposition from local solar manufacturers who want the contract for solar panels to come from local sources. The coalition of manufacturers is called the Solar Electric Manufacturers in Texas, or SEMI Texas. They asked that Gemini Solar restructure its deal so that US companies could participate in the project.
Due to the current economic climate, some businesses are apprehensive of the project because of the extra costs associated with it.
As of June 2010, the developer announced that the start of the project would be delayed by 6 months as it completes an environmental and historical assessment at the location in East Austin. The solar array was initially scheduled to begin operating in December 2010.
SOURCES: Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/05/solar-alternative-energy-power-business-energy-austin-solar-plant.html;
Renewable Energy Development http://renewableenergydev.com/red/solar-energy-austin-city-solar-array/;
Reliable Plant: http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/16313/gemini-solar-to-build-30mw-power-plant-for-austin-energy;
Austin Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2010/06/14/story2.html
Last updated December 1, 2010