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Proposed solar farm would bring jobs and renewable energy to Orange Grove

Orange Grove might get a little greener soon, with the possibility of a solar farm becoming more of a reality for the city
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Posted at 2:53 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 15:55:36-04

ORANGE GROVE, Texas — Orange Grove might get a little greener soon, with the possibility of a solar farm becoming more of a reality for the city.

The planned 175-megawatt solar farm would be about three miles from Orange Grove High School at County Road 308 and TX-359, according to Collin Brown, director of development for Advanced Power, the parent company of Talitha Energy Project.

The Orange Grove Independent School Board voted to pursue a Chapter 313 agreement with Advanced Power during its regular board meeting Monday, for its Talitha Energy Project.

"The project is currently under development," said Brown. "We are in the process of obtaining permits and working our way through the interconnection application process... We are probably about 8 to 12 months from starting construction."

The farm will take up about 700 to 800 acres in Jim Wells county, and the energy generated will go to Texas residents and businesses, according to Brown.

"Obviously there is the environmental benefits, but these projects have also evolved, and the technology has evolved to a point where they can be competitive in the retail market and drive down prices for consumers," says Brown.

The project will bring about 150 construction jobs to the county, as well as a handful of operational jobs after the facility is built.

Chapter 313 school value limitation agreements limit the taxable property value the district could claim - for ten years - for school district maintenance and operations tax (M&O tax).

Brown says the estimated cost of the project is somewhere between $100 million and $200 million.

According to a presentation before the school board, the district could receive $1 million in M&O tax during the first year of the solar farm’s operation. The company paid an application fee of $75,000 to the district Monday, which covers the costs to the district is considering the application.

It is a non-binding agreement, and the process will take four to six months, consultants told board members.