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San Benito wins Texas renewable energy project of the year honors

Release Date: 11/13/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or

Solar array to show potential of renewable energy along US-Mexico border

(Dallas, Texas – November 13, 2008) The City of San Benito, Texas, has received the Texas renewable energy project of the year award for the solar array that will help power its new water treatment plant.

Funding for the $325,000 photovoltaic system came from the Environmental Protection Agency through a grant to the Texas General Land Office and its Renewable Energy Program.

The Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association presented the city with the award during its annual meeting Nov. 9-11 in Austin.

“Solar power pays off,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “These types of projects cut energy costs, save demand on the electricity grid, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases going into the environment.”

The San Benito plant will be able to filter up to six million gallons of water a day, with the photovoltaic system providing about 10 percent of the power used to filter water at the plant. The 45- kilowatt project is the largest of its kind on the Texas-Mexico border, and officials hope it will inspire more solar-powered projects throughout the border region. EPA works with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the North American Development Bank to fund sustainable infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Interest in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal power, continues to grow as more communities attempt to balance the need to cut pollution and greenhouse gases with increased demands and costs for energy. Both the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy make it attractive and practical for areas with sunny climates. Officials hope to use the San Benito facility to showcase the potential of solar power as a viable energy source.

Additional information on EPA’s renewable energy programs is available at

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit