CPS Energy taps Korean OCI Solar in deal worth 800 jobs and 400MW (video)

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CPS Energy may have met its match. Long in the hunt for a strong solar-energy partner capable of delivering up to 400 megawatts of pollution-free solar power, the City-owned utility announced today at an outdoor downtown press conference that it has entered negotiations with South Korea-based OCI Solar for those megawatts.

With the proposed 25-year power purchase agreement still being finalized, OCI would relocate their North American headquarters from Atlanta to the Alamo City, open a manufacturing plant for solar components, creating an estimated 800 jobs with salaries in the $47,000 range and contributing an estimated $700 million in annual economic benefit to the city, according to numbers provided by CPS.

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CPS CEO Doyle Beneby (left) recounted how the solar search had started with much smaller ambitions of 50 megawatts a year ago. “As the process unfolded, we really couldn't get to what we thought was the best value proposition and concurrently prices started to come down,” he said. “We got so much interest that we decided to step back and increase the stake to up to 400 [megawatts].” OCI Solar Power Board Chair Kirk Milling praised Beneby and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro for having the vision to move aggressively into the direction of clean tech. “We're proud to move forward with the city of San Antonio and CPS Energy on one of the largest solar economic development initiative in the country,” Milling said. As part of their proposal, OCI has tapped South Korean company Nexolon, which develops solar cell components, to develop and operate the manufacturing plant in San Antonio. Concluded Milling: "We look forward to working with you in the transformation of San Antonio into a national hub for renewable solar power, a model for economic development, and a source for many new opportunities." Watch a clip from the press conference below:
 

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