The Samson Solar Energy Center is a 1,310MW photovoltaic (PV) solar energy generation facility under construction in northeast Texas, US. It is expected to be one of the biggest of its kind in the US upon completion.

The project is being developed by Invenergy, a US-based developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions.

The construction works on the £1.2bn ($1.6bn) project were started in July 2020 and the PV solar complex is expected to be fully operational in 2023.

At full capacity, the Samson Solar Energy Center is expected to produce enough electricity to power nearly 300,000 American homes while offsetting approximately six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its operational life.

Apart from supporting up to 600 construction jobs and 12 permanent jobs, the project is also expected to provide approximately $200m in new tax revenues and $250m in landowner payments.

Samson Solar Energy Center location details

The Samson Solar Energy Center solar project site is located in private lands in Franklin, Lamar and Red River Counties near the Oklahoma border in northeast Texas, US.

Samson Solar Energy Center make-up

The solar project will use durable solar photovoltaic (PV) panels that are in compliance with all local, state and federal regulations.

The solar panels will be installed at a resting height between 6ft and 8ft off the ground, with the top of the panels reaching up to 15ft off the ground in the morning or evening. The panels will be placed in north-south rows on single-axis trackers which will rotate the panels throughout the day from east to west, following the sun.

The associated components include driven-pile foundations, DC wiring, DC/AC inverters, AC cabling, medium voltage step-up transformers, and a central substation with a high voltage step-up transformer.

Low maintenance plants and native grasses will be planted below the solar panels to support soil health.

Development details

The Samson solar energy generation facility will be developed in five phases of 250MW, 200MW, 250MW, 300MW, and 310MW capacities spread over Franklin, Lamar and Red River counties.

The development work for all five phases is expected to be completed by Q3 2021 and the construction is scheduled for completion in Q3 2023.

Power purchase agreements

AT&T signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Invenergy to purchase 500MW from the Samson Solar Energy Center in November 2020.

The remaining capacity will be sold to four commercial/industrial customers and three Texas municipalities, including Honda (200MW), McDonald’s (160MW), Google (100MW), Home Depot (50MW), Bryan Texas Utilities(100MW), Texas A&M University(50MW), City of Denton (75MW), and Garland Power & Light (25MW),through long-term power purchase agreements.

Contractors involved

Global law firm DLA Piper provided advisory services to Invenergy in the negotiation of the balance of system agreement for phase one of the Samson Solar Energy Center project.

Solar power in the US

The electricity generated by solar PV and solar thermal plants accounted for 2% of the total electricity produced in the US in 2019. The total electricity generation from the solar category was estimated to be approximately 72.23 billion kWh in the year.