Skip to main content

Houston to Become Home to the Nation's Largest Urban Solar Farm

Published Jan 20, 2021 by Melissa Fox

solar energy

In another step towards Houston growing its Energy 2.0 ecosystem and leading the energy transition, last week the Houston city council unanimously approved the lease of 240 acres of city-owned land in the Sunnyside neighborhood to Sunnyside Energy, LLC, a subsidy of Wolfe Energy.

The Sunnyside Solar Project, an innovative public-private partnership, is expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2022. It will be the largest brownfield solar installation in the nation. "We applaud the actions of Mayor Turner and the City Council in taking this significant step. It is a strong vote of confidence for this impactful project,” Dori Wolfe, Managing Director of Sunnyside Energy LLC said in a recent press release.

The project will be anchored by a 50-megawatt ballasted solar array that will generate enough energy to power 5,000 homes and offset 120 million pounds of CO2 each year. "We are the energy capital of the world, and we’re now seeking to lead in the energy transition," Mayor Sylvester Turner told the Houston Chronicle

As part of the City's Climate Action Plan and Complete Communities Initiative, the Sunnyside Solar Project contains sustainability and resilience initiatives, as well economic development components, including educational attributes and promises to train and employ local labor. 

The project will also transform an abandoned landfill that has been a challenge for the Sunnyside community for over 50 years. “The Sunnyside landfill has been one of Houston's biggest community challenges for decades, and I am proud we are one step closer to its transformation," said Mayor Turner in the press release. "I thank the Sunnyside community because this project would not have come together without its support. This project is an example of how cities can work with the community to address long-standing environmental justice concerns holistically, create green jobs and generate renewable energy in the process.”

Learn more about how Houston is leading the energy transition, Energy 2.0 efforts and Houston innovation.

Related News

Energy

Japanese Multinational Company Announces Investment in Houston Startup

3/1/24
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced a substantial investment in Houston-based Fervo Energy, helping the geothermal development company reach $244 million in funding to advance its carbon-free technologies.  The funding, backed by a consortium of investors including Mitsubishi, Galvanize Climate Solutions, John Arnold, Liberty Mutual Investments, Marunouchi Innovation Partners and Mercuria, will support Fervo’s ongoing Cape Station project in Utah, a 400-megawatt operation that aims to deliver clean electricity to the grid by 2026.  “Demand for around-the-clock clean energy has never been higher, and next-generation geothermal is uniquely positioned to meet this demand,” said Tim Latimer, Fervo CEO and Co-Founder, in a news release. “Our technology is fully derisked, our pricing is already competitive, and our resource pipeline is vast. This investment enables Fervo to continue to position geothermal at the heart of 24/7 carbon-free energy production.”  The groundbreaking project, located in Beaver County, Utah, began drilling in June 2023. It has since seen remarkable success, surpassing the Department of Energy’s (DOE) expectations for enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) with a 70 percent reduction in drilling times and lower production costs, according to Fervo.   With an abundance of innovative companies like Fervo, Houston has garnered significant acclaim for its energy transition ecosystem, attracting investors from around the world to the region. According to a Partnership analysis, Houston-based energy transition startups, businesses, and companies secured $6.1 billion in financing from private market investments in 2022, a 62 percent increase compared to 2021.  This announcement marks Mitsubishi’s second major investment in Houston companies engaged in emission-reducing technologies. Last year, the company signed an investment agreement with deep-decarbonization company Syzygy Plasmonics to scale and commercialize its technology that works to transform various industries by reducing costs and emissions.  Mitsubishi’s continuous investment in the region not only solidifies the company’s dedication to advancing sustainable solutions to achieve the world’s net zero climate goals, but also positions Houston at the forefront of propelling the global energy transition forward.  "This announcement is a testament to the dynamic spirit of partnership and opportunity thriving within Houston's energy ecosystem,” said Jane Stricker, the Partnership’s senior vice president of energy transition and executive director of Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI). “The investment in Fervo Energy from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is another example of the growing number of strategic investments by energy and industrial companies into innovative startups with promising technologies, which is why the Houston region continues to lead commercial deployment of solutions for the transition.”  Learn more about Houston’s Energy Transition Initiative. 
Read More
Economic Development

Texas Dominates Business Attraction, Houston Remains a Top Leader

3/1/24
The Houston region has once again ranked third among top U.S. metros for attracting new business, according to Site Selection Magazine’s yearly analysis, while Texas earned its 12th consecutive Governor’s Cup.  “The Governor’s Cups recognize not only the winning governors, but their entire economic development teams, and by extension, the many professionals throughout their states who work every day to attract new investment and retain and grow existing businesses,” said Mark Arend, editor emeritus of Site Selection.  Site Selection identified 1,254 project wins for Texas in 2023, more than doubling the next-highest state, Illinois. With 226 more projects than 2022, Texas saw a 22% increase in projects. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA won 413 projects, an uptick of more than 150 since 2022. Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth placed first and second, respectively, in the top U.S. metros category.  "We are excited to see Texas continues to be the leading State for corporate relocations and expansions," said Partnership Vice President of Regional Economic Development Craig Rhodes. "Houston’s ranking as a top three metro further highlights the unique opportunity we have in our region for companies to access diverse talent, critical infrastructure, and the convergence of industries to grow their business on a global scale." Here is a look at a few of the notable project wins in 2023 for the Houston area:  Cart.com, an e-commerce unicorn that returned to Houston from Austin in efforts to scale its business. The move highlighted the value in Houston’s transportation infrastructure and accessibility, as well as its large and diverse talent pool.  Packgene Biotech, a CRO and CDMO company founded in Massachusetts, which broke ground on its 22,000 square feet cGMP manufacturing facility in 2023. This facility will create up to 80 jobs with $20 million invested. They are already in the expansion process to grow the facility to 35,000 square feet. This project will accelerate gene therapy product development by providing a fully integrated one-stop solution for clients.  Sumika Semiconductor Materials, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical, is building a high-purity semiconductor process chemical manufacturing plant in the Houston region. The project includes an investment of $250 million and will create 50 jobs in the region.  SEG Solar, a solar panel manufacturing company, is slated to open its 145,000 square feet Houston facility by mid-2024. The project is projected to create 500 jobs with a capital investment of $60 million. The move reinforces Houston’s status as Energy Capital of the World.   In an interview with Site Selection Magazine, Governor Greg Abbott pointed to the state’s pro-business environment as to why companies keep choosing to relocate or expand their businesses in Texas.  “Industry-leading CEOs cite our pro-growth economic policies — with no corporate income tax and no personal income tax — along with our strong and growing workforce, easy access to global markets, robust infrastructure, and business-friendly regulations, "Abbott said.  The state’s new economic incentives program will be a critical tool in attracting new companies to the region. The Texas Jobs Energy, Technology, and Innovation, or JETI, program, replaces Chapter 313, which sunset in 2022.   Learn more on why companies continue to choose Houston. 
Read More

Related Events

Economic Development

Upskill Works

The Greater Houston Partnership invites you to a symposium of local Hydrogen workforce and upskilling opportunities and funding, featuring conversations with key industry and education players.

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners