Group bringing solar farm to open field in Seguin
5 Aug 2023
Manufacturing, News, Infrastructure
Dalondo Moultrie The Seguin Gazette
A group of area businesses are partnering to build a solar farm in Seguin that could be beneficial for the individual companies, for Seguin and for the environment as a whole.
Late last month, Vitesco Technologies, Big Sun Solar and the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative broke ground on the project at a 12-acre lot next to Vitesco’s manufacturing facility in Seguin. The project calls for 4,800 solar panels to be installed to generate thousands of megawatts of clean energy each year, said Rich Anderson, Vitesco’s Seguin plant manager. The panels are expected to supply more than 10% of the plant’s electricity, he said.
“We’re one of the largest employers in the area,” Anderson said. “We have a large footprint and a lot of people — as many as 1,800 people. That’s a lot of eclectric — 10% is a big number of a big number.”
The solar farm is scheduled to be complete by the end of October, he said.
Through a power purchase agreement, Big Sun Solar will build, own and operate the solar farm and Vitesco will buy from GVEC the electricity generated to offset the automotive manufacturing supplier’s energy consumption.
“The Seguin facility is one of our largest manufacturing plants in the world and a key contributor to Vitesco Technologies’ ability to serve U.S. and global automakers with powertrain technology,” said Scott Williams, head of operations for Vitesco Technologies North America. “Our collaboration with Big Sun Solar has led to a significant leap forward in allowing us to also meet our corporate environmental and sustainability targets. Our corporate values of passionate, partnering and pioneering are on full display thanks to the expertise and support received from Big Sun Solar and GVEC.”
Vitesco has pledged to achieve climate neutrality for its entire production and internal business activities by 2030, Anderson said.
Partnering on the solar farm initiative shows the company’s seriousness to meet its goals, he said.
San Antonio-based Big Sun Solar CEO Robert Miggins said working with the local entities creates synergy to help make important changes for the world environment.
“Converting the transportation sector to climate neutral solutions is daunting but also achievable,” he said. “We’re proud and excited to work with companies such as Vitesco Technologies, who are taking the lead.”
GVEC is pleased to be a part of the collaboration, General Manager and CEO Darren Schauer said. The energy provider looks forward to helping spur jobs and the economy locally for years to come, he said.
“As a cooperative serving one of the largest manufacturing clusters in South Texas, we are committed to working with our commercial and industrial customers on creative solutions to meet their sustainability goals,” Schauer said. “This flexibility helps attract and retain prominent businesses such as Vitesco in our service area.”
Vitesco’s deal with the solar company and the electric cooperative will save the manufacturer on energy costs, Anderson said. The solar farm also will add power to and savings for the energy grid in the local area, he said.
That and other factors will combine to help make Seguin a bigger player in manufacturing and economically, Anderson said.
Making sustainable products and leaning into electrification is a part of this area’s future, he said.
“It just goes to emphasize the projects we are working on,” Anderson said. “You wouldn’t think that Seguin is a major player in the electrification market moving forward but the electronics to control these batteries are going to be made right here in Seguin.”