The Mockingbird Solar Center is a 471MWAC solar photovoltaic (PV) project being developed in Texas, the US.

Ørsted Onshore North America, a subsidiary of Danish multinational power company Ørsted, is the owner and developer of the renewable project.

The Final Investment Decision (FID) on Mockingbird was taken in January 2023. The project is expected to be completed and commissioned in 2024.

Mockingbird Solar Center location details

The Mockingbird Solar Center will be located in Lamar County of Texas.

The farm will cover an area of 4,900 acres or approximately 20km2. The location includes the Smiley-Woodfin Native Prairie Grassland, where a rare form of tallgrass prairie is found.

Around 1,000 acres of area adjacent to the solar farm will be donated to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to protect the native prairie in north-east Texas. The land will be transferred before the solar farm begins operations.

According to Ørsted, the move will be the largest preservation effort on record for the native tallgrass prairie.

Mockingbird Solar Center details

The solar farm will be developed to meet the energy requirement of the Texas state during peak demand periods.

The 471MWAC Mockingbird Solar Center will generate enough renewable solar electricity to power more than 80,000 homes. The capacity also makes it the largest solar PV project in Ørsted’s portfolio to date.

The project will be equipped with monocrystalline photovoltaic panels to generate power. The exact number of PV panels and the capacity will be finalised following engineering design optimisation and selection of manufacturer.

The project infrastructure will also include metal mounting system with tracking capabilities; battery or battery system; underground conduit, communication cables; electric collection system wiring, combiner boxes, and DC-to-AC converter stations.

It will also have a project substation including breakers; a transformer; overhead transmission lines; an operations and maintenance facility; meteorological equipment to measure solar radiation and weather conditions among others.

The battery system will be used to store power generated by the facility.

Mockingbird will have an interconnection with the Oncor Electric Delivery Company, an energy delivery company in Texas.

The development of the solar farm will also support the local economy. It is estimated that the project will lead to an investment of nearly $215m into the local economy over its life, creating a stable source of revenue for the North Lamar and Chisum Independent School Districts and other taxing entities.

The project is expected to create 200 jobs during the construction phase as well as create opportunities for operations and maintenance. Ørsted will also procure materials locally, when possible.

Construction details

According to Ørsted, the construction of the solar farm will begin with the preparation of site, followed by clearing and other civil work.

In July 2023, the piles and racking installation will start and continue until July 2024. The works related to the collection system installation is expected to complete by February 2024.

The substation and high voltage construction will be carried out between April 2023 and March 2024.

The energisation of Mockingbird will begin in April 2024 with commissioning slated by October 2024.

Power Purchase Agreement

Ørsted signed a ten-year corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) with health and nutrition company Royal DSM in 2021.

Under the PPA, Royal DSM will purchase a portion of renewable power generated by the Mockingbird Solar Center as it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 59% by 2030 as compared to base year 2016 levels.

Ørsted in US

Denmark-headquartered Ørsted focuses on developing and operating offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen, green fuel facilities, and bioenergy plants.

The company has more than 500 employees across 14 offices in the US.

It has 4GW of onshore wind, solar and storage projects in operation or under construction across Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast regions of the country. The company also has 5GW of offshore wind capacity in development on the East Coast.