Gemini Solar Development Company LLC has been selected to build a 30 megawatt photovoltaic solar power plant for Austin Energy, a municipal electric utility in Austin, Texas.
This landmark solar power plant will be built on 300 acres of city-owned land located approximately 25 miles east of Austin. Totaling 30MW, the solar array will be operational by the end of 2010. When completed, the solar generated power will eliminate approximately 30,000 tons of CO2 per year and provide enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.
Gemini Solar is a joint venture between Suntech Power and developer MMA Renewable Ventures, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity, LLC. Gemini Solar was formed in October 2008 to develop and finance photovoltaic projects of 10 megawatts and larger. Gemini Solar will own and operate the solar power plant and sell the electricity to Austin Energy under a 25-year non-escalating power purchase agreement.
In 2003, the Austin City Council adopted a strategic energy policy, which calls for the development and use of clean energy by Austin Energy. A key component of this energy policy is the commitment towards the development of solar energy with goals of 30 MW by 2010 and 100 MW by 2020. In 2007, the Austin City Council launched the Climate Protection Plan initiative which calls for Austin Energy to develop more aggressive energy conservation and establishes a goal that 30% of its energy be from renewable energy resources by 2020. This solar project will make a major contribution toward these objectives.