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The McAllen Ranch, one of the oldest continuously owned tracts of land in the United States and Texas, is now home to a new solar site owned by Los Faroles, LLC.
The McAllen Ranch has been owned by the McAllen family since 1791, through an original Spanish land grant. The McAllen family expressed its goal to generate revenue from its land while also preserving the history of the ranch. In addition, high overhead of ranch operations needed a search for cost mitigation, but paramount to cutting costs was preserving the historic land.
With the help of RP Construction Services, Inc. (RPCS), a California-based solar subcontractor and solar tracker installer, Statewide Renewable broke ground on the project in late May of 2018 and completed it in October of 2018.
During the process, the McAllen Ranch and Magic Valley successfully negotiated a power purchase agreement, which made this project feasible. This power purchase agreement represents Magic Valley’s first energy contract outside their generation and transmission provider. South Texas Electric Cooperative, Magic Valley’s generation and transmission provider, will purchase the energy on behalf of Magic Valley for the benefit of Magic Valley’s more than 100,000 members in the Rio Grande Valley.
“We are always seeking for ways to diversify our energy portfolio” said John Herrera, Magic Valley’s General Manager. “Magic Valley is particularly interested in this project as a pilot. We want to engage renewables as a way to alleviate costs, hedge market volatility, and provide members with clean, renewable energy.”
Los Faroles solar facility features a 960 KW solar array with tracking capabilities. Power generated at this site will provide energy to approximately 150 homes. The array’s mounting technology keeps the modules following the sun on its course throughout the day, ensuring up to a 20% to 25% increase in energy production over fixed-tilt systems. The project’s solar trackers can deliver large amounts of energy late in the afternoon, when Magic Valley is battling high demand at peak hours.
After several months of construction, the system proved operational and monitoring shows it is producing just as designed. The site will not only help the McAllen Ranch with their goals, but also with those of Magic Valley and its members.