Spanish utility company Naturgy has started construction of a 300MWdc solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in Texas with a €264m ($276m) investment.

The 7V Solar Ranch plant is being developed on more than 800ha of land in Fayette County and is scheduled to become operational before the end of next year.

The project marks the beginning of the development of the solar and energy storage portfolio that Naturgy bought from Hamel Renewables last year.

The solar facility will be equipped with 555,600 solar PV modules and will have the capacity to generate 560GWh of electricity a year.

It is expected to create 200 jobs on average during its construction phase, employing around 600 workers at times of peak workload.

Naturgy chairman Francisco Reynés said: “Starting construction of this new facility is a milestone for Naturgy, not only because it is the first in the US and the company’s largest photovoltaic plant in the world, but also because it demonstrates our firm commitment to the development of renewable energies and the energy transition.”

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The solar facility will be Naturgy’s largest in the world and is located near urban centres such as Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas.

It is the company’s first entry into the US renewable energy segment and is part of the firm’s plan to develop an international renewable portfolio focused on ‘stable’ geographic regions and early-stage projects.

Following the facility’s completion, Naturgy plans to invest more than €1bn to achieve an operating capacity of 500MW by next year, subsequently increasing this to 1.2GW by 2025.

Last month, Equinor signed an agreement with Naturgy to compete in Spain’s upcoming offshore wind auction, which is expected to be held offshore from the Canary Islands next year.

The offshore auction is intended to help the Spanish government meet its target to have up to 3GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.