The future might soon be looking brighter for solar energy as the city of Denton and a couple of local businesses engage in discussion and implementation of more renewable energy throughout Denton.
In light of Texas’ recent gas panic, some might wonder what the status of renewable energy around town is, how much of Denton’s energy comes from renewable sources and what local companies are doing to move forward with renewables.
Last month, the Denton City Council unanimously approved Target Corp.’s planned solar project, which was recommended for approval by the Public Utilities Board.
Target filed an application in March to install a 660-kilowatt system of photovoltaic solar panels atop the company’s distribution building on Airport Road. It would be the largest system integrated into the Denton Municipal Energy grid.
“I asked for this to be pulled because it is a great project and it’s a big one in our community,” council member Keely Briggs said during an Aug. 15 City Council meeting before motioning for the project’s approval. “And I’d like our citizens to see how the process works and encourage other customers to do the same and to know that there are grants or rebates available if they choose to do it.”
Also last month, a Dallas-based company with two executives who are University of North Texas alumni was named the No. 10 solar developer in the United States and the No. 1 solar developer in Texas by Solar Power World Magazine. The company, O3 Energy, installed a 50-kilowatt solar panel system on the Chase Bank building on University Drive in 2015.
“What’s funny is that we market it as the largest solar project in Denton County, because at that time it was,” said Preston Howell, vice president of O3 Energy and a 2009 UNT graduate. “But it’s actually the smallest project we’ve ever done.”
The system, though it lost the title of largest solar project in Denton County a short time later, is estimated to have offset the building’s energy consumption by about 50 percent annually.