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First OCI Solar Farm Under Construction, Finished By Year End

Eileen Pace

Today CPS Energy and city officials joined OCI Solar Power executives in a toast to the first phase of construction on a mega solar power agreement that promises 800 jobs for the city over several solar farm locations.

Officials made a ceremonial first dig with shovels at the site of Alamo I, the first solar farm location, to symbolize the massive construction project that has already begun.

South of Loop 410 and IH-37, Alamo I will soon be buzzing with hundreds of solar panels that will generate 41 megawatts.  

OCISolar PowerPresident Tony Dorazio calls it a landmark project. This farm is large, but it represents only about one-tenth of OCI’s plans for the San Antonio area.

"So when you get up to 400 megawatts, now you’re getting to a project that’s of the scale that probably in a year or two we’ll see maybe out in California. But when you’re looking at 400 megawatts, that’s a very large solar farm," Dorazio said.

CPS Energy President Doyle Beneby said OCI chose San Antonio in part based on incentives, but also because of the value of the city’s utility

"We’re a very, very good credit risk, so we make a very attractive counter-party. But I think the big thing was, we really offered a big project and were willing to make a big commitment over the long haul. And that attracted a lot of people and once they came to the game, then we really introduced the concept of jobs and education,"Beneby said.

Dorazio said there is a bright future for solar power generation in Texas. OCI is planning for 800 jobs across the spectrum over the coming two years.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.