year in review
Looking back: 5 most-read Houston solar energy stories of 2023
Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, EnergyCapital is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston energy transition. Houston's really charged up about the impact of solar energy has on lowering emissions amid the energy transition. Several stories of solar project news and even a Q&A with a Houston solar executive resonated with readers this year — be sure to click through to read the full story.
Houston-based Sunnova Energy has secured a loan from the Department of Energy. Photo via sunnova.com
A partial loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy will support more than $5 billion in loans for Sunnova Energy equipment and technology that’ll supply solar energy to underserved communities.
The $3 billion partial loan guarantee equates to a 90 percent guarantee of up to $3.3 billion in loans. In turn, Sunnova says, that’ll support more than $5 billion in loans to about 75,000 to 115,000 U.S. households. It’s said to be the largest single commitment to solar power ever made by the federal government.
At least 20 percent of the Project Hestia loans will be extended to customers with FICO credit scores of 680 or less, and up to 20 percent of the loans will be earmarked for homeowners in impoverished Puerto Rico. Read the full article from October.
The project will take over more than 1,000 acres of former farmland about an hour outside of Houston. Photo via Getty Images
An Austin-based company has scored $200 million in financing for a solar energy project it’s building in Liberty County.
Recurrent Energy’s 134-megawatt Liberty Solar project, about 50 miles northeast of Houston, is scheduled to start operating in 2024. The facility will occupy more than 1,000 acres of former farmland about six miles south of Dayton.
Last year, Recurrent Energy indicated the project represented an investment of $155 million, according to paperwork filed with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
The company lined up $120 million in financing through Rabobank, Nord LB, and U.S. Bank in the form of construction debt, a letter-of-credit facility, and a term facility. In addition, U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, is providing $80 million in tax equity. Read the full article from September.
John Berger, CEO of Houston-based Sunnova, explains the importance of energy independence and solar's role in achieving it. Courtesy of Sunnova
Following extreme temperatures and increasing grid instability this summer, CEO and Chairman of the board of residential solar power service company Sunnova Energy Corp., John Berger, is encouraging individuals to take charge of their energy needs.
Berger founded the Houston-grown company back in 2012, before solar energy was seen as a hip, clean power source. Now, Sunnova (NYSE: NOVA) is a leader in residential solar installations.
In a discussion with EnergyCapital Berger broke down misconceptions about solar power, predicted the rise of the home as a power station, and highlighted the importance of energy independence. Read the full interview from September.
TotalEnergies' new solar farm outside of Houston is the size of 1,800 football fields. Photo via totalenergies.com
A global energy corporation has a new solar farm online and operating just outside of Houston.
TotalEnergies (NYSE: TTE) has started commercial operations of its new solar farm, Myrtle Solar, just south of Houston. The farm has a capacity of 380 megawatts peak of solar production and 225 MWh of co-located batteries. Spread across the space — which is about the size of 1,800 football fields — are 705,000 solar panels producing enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.
Seventy percent of the power generated will be sourced for TotalEnergies' industrial plants in the U.S. Gulf Coast region, and the remaining 30 percent will be used by Kilroy Realty, a publicly traded real estate company, per a 15-year corporate power purchase agreement. Read the full article from October.
BP's solar park is scheduled to begin operating in the second half of 2024. Photo via bp.com
British energy giant BP, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, has started construction on a 187-megawatt solar farm about 10 miles northeast of Corpus Christi.
The Peacock Solar facility will generate power for a nearby chemical complex operated by Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, a joint venture between Spring-based energy company ExxonMobil and SABIC, a Saudi Arabian chemical conglomerate whose products are used to make clothes, food containers, packaging, agricultural film, and construction materials. SABIC’s Americas headquarters is in Houston.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures opened the plant in 2022. The joint venture says the ethylene cracker and derivatives complex, located northwest of the town of Gregory, employs about 600 people. Read the full article from October.