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Caldwell County Enters $1Bn Economic Agreement for Solar Farm, Battery Plant

Feature Photo: The company will develop a solar energy farm like the one seen above just outside of Uhland. Image: Chem-Energy Corp

Posted: 11-15-2021

by Art Benavidez

Uhland (Caldwell County) —  A Garden Grove, California-based petroleum company will invest $1 billion on two energy facilities–a solar energy farm and a battery power plant, with an assist from a county-sponsored economic development agreement.

Chem-Energy Corp. will construct a solar power plant on 3,518 acres on Caldwell Valley Ranch just outside of Uhland, a small town roughly 12 miles northeast of San Marcos that sits in Caldwell and Hays counties.

The ranch is within the extra-territorial jurisdiction and just northwest of Lockhart, the county seat of Caldwell.

The project was first reported in the Lockhart Post-Register and Austin Business Journal. The following day, the Greater San Marcos Partnership president Jason Giuliett gave a statement to the San Marcos Daily Record.

“An economic development win of this magnitude is a prime example of what can be done here in the Texas Innovation Corridor,” he wrote. “It is also a prime example of a win-win-win between the public sector, private sector, and workforce development sector.”

Construction on the solar plant is set to begin in the spring of 2022 and be completed in 2023.

Caldwell Valley Ranch will serve as the company’s renewable energy flagship operations in the state. The projected workforce of 400 will earn average annual salaries of $53,200, plus benefits, and hiring is expected to begin in April 2022 and a state-of-the-art job training facility to open in late spring 2022.

After the Uhland facility is completed, the company will begin constructing a battery plant near the small town of Martindale, also in Caldwell County. The exact location and acreage for that site was not reported.

Caldwell County has signed off on a $22.4 million tax incentive package for the two facilities in exchange for Chem-Energy providing the county with a projected $22.4 million in added total net tax revenue over the next ten years.

The incentive agreement will give Chem-Energy a 100% rebate on its property taxes for the first three years, 75% rebates in years four and five, 50% rebates in years six and seven, and 25% rebates in years eight and nine.

Giulietti added that GSMP is working on other collaborations that will soon be revealed. 

Jason Giuliett. Image: LinkedIn

The project team will consist of the San Antonio office of Mortenson Construction as the engineer and builder of the solar facilities, according to details GSMO provided to the San Marcos Daily Record.  

The Lockhart Post-Register reported that KORE Power will provide the high energy density NMC batteries for power storage; Invenergy Services will provide back office administrative, energy asset/management and operations and maintenance support; and Soundgrid Partners will provide project management, technical advice, and support.

VBX Project ID: 2021-7E83


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By |2021-11-15T15:59:05-06:00November 15th, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.

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