Circuit of the Americas seeking incentives for solar-power generation

Circuit of the Americas is seeking incentives from Austin Energy to generate solar power to be used at the racetrack under construction in southeastern Travis County.

The circuit is seeking an estimated $49,300 per year for a total of no more than $566,200 over 10 years, according to city documents. The first race weekend is Nov. 16-18.

"As part of our overall sustainability strategy, we're looking pretty hard at having some on-site solar," said Edgar Farrera, sustainability director at Circuit of the Americas. "Part of that, the financial analysis of whether we can have that now or do we wait … is dependent in part on whether we get the incentive."

The circuit is considering an on-site solar array that could produce 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of energy over a decade, Farrera said. That's enough to power 28 average Austin homes for 10 years, according to Austin Energy. Farrera estimated that it could generate about 40 percent of the site's energy use on non-race days.

The solar incentive program is part of the city's goal to get 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, utility spokesman Ed Clark said. By next year, the city expects to get a quarter of its energy from renewable sources, he said.

The circuit also is considering participating in the city's Green Choice program, which sells wind power and other renewable energy to customers, said Tim Harvey, the utility's solar program coordinator.

Solar power is one of several sustainable projects the circuit is working on, including creek and land restoration, green building practices and water and energy conservation, Farrera said.

The city's Electric Utility Commission, which reviews Austin Energy policies and procedures, approved the incentive Monday. The city's Resource Management Commission, which advises the City Council on alternative and renewable energy issues, will consider it at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at City Hall, 301 W. Second St.

The council could take up the incentives this month, Harvey said. The Statesman

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