Energy customer in the Sooner State can start celebrating more access to solar power, thanks to the development of a 10-megawatt solar plant in Covington, OK. Once operational in early 2018, the largest solar project in the state is expected to generate enough electricity to power over 1,000 homes.
Solar provider, SunPower and utility Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company (OG&E) will develop and construct the project starting in August 2017. When construction is complete, OG&E will own the renewable energy credits for the project and distribute power directly to its customer’s homes and business, while SunPower will maintain and operate the facility.
"The 80-acre site will optimize the cost-competitive solar power generated for OG&E customers. We commend OG&E for its commitment to including solar in its energy mix, and for selecting high performance SunPower technology to ensure reliable, long-term return on investment,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. Oklahoma, dominated by the oil and natural gas industries, only had 2.9 megawatts of solar installed at the end of 2016 and ranked 47th overall in the US, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
SunPower will install its Oasis power plant integrated with 38,000 P-series photovoltaic tracking panels on the 80-acre Covington project site. The plant system utilizes drones to survey the site’s topographic features to maximize the design of the installation. The system also features solar panel cleaning robots that are 10 percent more efficient than manual cleaning and uses 75 percent less water in the process, according to the company.
The project is a continuation of OG&E’s plan to expand its renewable energy portfolio. Starting in 2015, the utility developed a 2.5 megawatt solar farm near Mustang, OK, providing clean electricity to approximately 500 homes within its service area. The utility has also expanded its wind fleet to 12 percent of its total generating capacity, helping Oklahoma become the fourth largest wind power producer in the US.
OG&E is not the only utility that is pushing forward to increase its solar capacity to complement the state’s growing wind industry. For instance, the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative developed a 5 megawatt solar farm consisting of 20,000 solar panels on a 44-acre site near Cyril, OK, in 2016.Tweet