San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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March 2nd, 2011
City, county raise wind turbine at Five Mile Dam park


Motorists traveling on Interstate 35 near Yarrington Road in San Marcos can glimpse a new 42-foot wind turbine put into service last week at the 43-acre soccer complex at File Mile Dam Park.

City staffers and the All-Force Renewable Energy team celebrate the new wind turbine at the Soccer Complex. Pictured left to right are Richard Salmon, Alan Trollinger, Jimmy Venable, Gerald Hitzfelder and Beverly Trollinger. PHOTO by DON ANDERS

The wind turbine is the final piece of the 13.5 kilowatt combined solar-wind system designed to generate power, offset operating costs and demonstrate renewable energy sources at the soccer complex.

“One of the first things you notice at the soccer fields is the wind blowing frequently because of the valley created by the Blanco River,” said Rodney Cobb, Director of Community Services. “The river, the sunny climate and the wind current make this an ideal location for generating solar-wind energy.”

City staff researched the best alternative energy resource to include in the design of the soccer complex. Valuable information was also provided by Texas State University and the State Energy Conservation Office in Austin.

The solar-wind system uses a combination of solar cells to convert energy from the sun into electricity and a wind generated turbine system to produce additional power. As a rule, wind turbines generate more electricity than solar arrays and require minimal wind speeds of only five miles per hour.

All-Force Renewable Energy Sources of New Braunfels was awarded the $48,855 contract for the hybrid solar-wind system. The solar array was installed before the opening of the soccer fields in September, but the arrival of the wind turbine was delayed due to the manufacturer shipping it to Santiago, Chile instead of San Antonio, Texas.

The complete hybrid solar-wind system is now connected to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative system and serves as a mini power plant by putting electricity back onto the soccer complex power grid. Energy put back on the grid is banked for use during high peak periods.

If the hybrid system produces more energy than is being used at the soccer fields, the electric meter will run backwards. During high peak periods, the meter will slow down resulting in less electricity being purchased from the utility.

Energy cost savings at the complex are estimated at $5,000 to $7,000 per year with the hybrid system having the ability to generate enough savings to pay for itself after a few years of operation.

The wind turbine is mounted on a free standing 42-inch hydraulic lift tower which allows the unit to be lowered for maintenance and repairs. The life of the system could be as long as 20 to 30 years.

Open since September 2010, the Five Mile Dam soccer complex was built through a $4.5 million partnership between the City of San Marcos and Hays County. It has ten full size soccer fields and hosts local, regional and statewide competitions.

For more information about the hybrid solar-wind system, call city grants adminsitrator Richard Salmon at 512-393-8405 or email See city video of the turbine being raised here.


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