Lendlease, an Australian-based developer, announced it is leasing 1,800 acres near Orchard in the western portion of Fort Bend County to build a 200-megawatt solar facility. County officials have offered 10 years of tax abatements for the $170 million project.
Fort Bend Solar will mount about 700,000 solar panels on a single-axis tracker system, which will allow the 3-foot by 6-foot panels to slowly rotate from east to west for maximum absorption. The solar panels will connect to the transmission lines of CenterPoint Energy and are expected to add enough energy to power 40,000 homes.
Construction is expected to begin next year, and the facility is expected to be up and running in 2020.
The energy absorbed by the panels will be sent to an on-site substation, where it will be converted from low to high voltage. It will then be delivered to CenterPoint which is building a switch yard to allow the power to flow into the system.
Fort Bend officials hope the extra energy will attract commercial, industrial and residential developers.
"We need power now more than ever, especially when considering population projections for the county and the state of Texas," Fort Bend Precinct 1 County Commissioner Vincent Morales said.
The Brazos Independent School District, Fort Bend County and the Fort Bend County Drainage District are giving 10-year tax abatements on the 30-year lease.