RP Construction Services (RPCS) and Texas EPC Statewide Renewable announce the completion of a 1.2-MW solar site in southern Texas.
McAllen Ranch, the home of this new solar site owned by Los Faroles, is one of the oldest continuously owned tracts of land in the United States. The ranch has been owned by the McAllen family since 1791, an original Spanish land grant.
RPCS and Statewide broke ground on the project in late May after the McAllen family expressed its goal to generate revenue from its land while also maintaining its purity. In addition, high overhead of ranch operations necessitated a search for cost mitigation, but paramount to cutting costs was preserving the historic land.
Statewide Renewable successfully negotiated a power purchase agreement (PPA) with local utility Magic Valley Electric Coop (MVEC) on a 20-year basis. MVEC is particularly interested in this project as a pilot. Along with other Texas utilities, MVEC wants to engage renewables as a way to alleviate costs, hedge market volatility, and provide members with clean, renewable energy.
The site utilizes Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 single-axis solar trackers, procured and installed by RPCS, Array’s trusted DG partner. 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. RPCS designs and installs Array tracker systems throughout the country, with hundreds of projects completed to date in the utility and distributed generation markets.
The site also features RPCS’s Plug-N-Play Solar Tracker system, which integrates Array’s single-axis tracker, Shoals Technologies’ electric balance of systems wiring solutions, and the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped (CAB Solar) above-ground messenger wire cable management system. This system significantly simplifies tracker project install by reducing trenching by 50%, utilizing less specialized labor, and requiring less time—all resulting in faster time to completion and CAPex savings.
“Richard and Tomas have been excellent partners at every step of this project and we are really excited to work with them again. We’re very proud of the finished site and the McAllen Ranch has been a beautiful and special place to work,” says RPCS Chief Sales Officer Alex Smith.
The project’s solar trackers can deliver large amounts of energy late in the afternoon when MVEC is battling high demand at peak hours. Temperatures in this region of Texas often reach 100° in the afternoon, and power demand peaks at a very high level.
Statewide Renewable is working with partners like RPCS to further their commitment to helping commercial, industrial, educational, and property development sectors in reducing energy costs while also reducing their carbon footprint.
“If our system is successful both in delivering energy and in capturing accurate data, we will be able to not only enlarge this system but be able to offer it to utilities and large private entities throughout the State of Texas,” says Statewide Renewable CEO and Founder Richard Estrada.
“Texas has the largest solar resource in the country and Texans are putting it to good use for reliable cost-competitive power,” said Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association. “With large-scale solar projects in development in more than 70 counties across the state, we expect solar power to be an increasing contributor to our Texas electricity portfolio for years to come.”
The McAllen family believes that solar energy is the favorable method to reducing costs, and utilizing land to offset expenses and generate additional revenue while also preventing the degradation of their land. “Our goal is to sustain this land through many generations by caring for its resources,” states the McAllen Ranch website.
Wildlife on McAllen Ranch is a valued resource. Hunting happens very conservatively, and wildlife health and growth throughout the year is monitored closely. “Preserving nature and wildlife is not only our duty as landowners, but it also ensures there will be a ranching business for future generations,” the website states.
McAllen Ranch was the proud recipient of the 1996 BBU Environmental Award. Many details of its livestock operation include strategies to help the wildlife coexist and flourish, including pasture rotation and providing abundant watering areas in remote regions of the property.
McAllen Ranch is one of the oldest existing ranches in the United States in continuous ownership. Historically, the ranch was mainly used to raise cattle, horses, and sheep. The grasslands of the lower Rio Grande River valley, where the ranch is located, is perfectly suited to support cattle and other grazing livestock. Today, the ranch continues to breed quality livestock and entertains hunting guests from all over the world.