Five developers tour potential solar sites in Bowie

City of Bowie officials met with representatives of five solar array development companies on Wednesday and toured three city-owned properties including the old sewer far behind the baseball complex. (Courtesy photo)

City of Bowie officials met with potential solar array developers Wednesday touring three possible locations for a project and conducting lengthy interviews with those firms.
This is the second go-round with solar energy development for the city after it went through a similar process in spring 2016.
In that earlier scenario, the council voted no on a solar project indicated there was not enough savings to justify it, but wanted to continue further negotiations with Bryan Texas Utilities, the city’s bulk power supplier, in regard to its contract which is in year 11 of a 30-year term. There is a five-year out clause.
In 2015 the city negotiated an amendment in its BTU contract that would allow the city to develop up to two megawatts capacity in distributed energy. Bowie purchases a little more than 10 megawatts in bulk power each year with a peak use of 13MW.
Officials from Schneider Engineering have explained one megawatt could help reduce the city’s peak demand as distributors are charged a peak rate based on annual calculations from the four prime months, typically June to September. Those also are considered prime solar production months.
Obtaining one megawatt from another source hopefully at a cheaper rate would reduce the transmission fees. If a solar array was available in close proximity to the city’s power grid, it could go directly into the system without those fees charged by the state and shared by all public power entities to offset the construction of a power grid to transport wind power energy across the state.
City Manager Bert Cunningham, Mayor Gaylynn Burris, Mayor Protem Wayne Bell and Jay Evans, head of the city’s electric department, met with the five firms Thursday. It would take about 10 acres for the system needed to produce 1MW of “green energy.”

Read the full story in the weekend News.