EPE largest solar facility now completed

EPE largest solar facility now completed

POSTED: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 9:40am

UPDATED: Monday, June 16, 2014 - 10:21am

El Paso Electric (EPE) welcomes the completion and commercial operations of Macho Springs, the largest solar facility on EPE’s system.

This 50 megawatt (MW) solar facility, along with an additional solar facility that will be the largest in El Paso Texas (10 MW and completed by the end of the year) will expand total solar generation to 6% of EPE’s dedicated generation resources.

In less than one year, EPE has doubled its utility-scale solar portfolio, making EPE a national leader in solar development.

“Our west Texas and southern New Mexico region has the right kind of sun for optimal solar energy production, making this region the ‘goldilocks’ in terms of climate, humidity and heat characteristics that allow us to expand our renewable portfolio with cost-effective technologies and reliable energy resources,” said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer at El Paso Electric.

“With over 300 days of sunshine every year, we are in the perfect region for solar energy technologies, which in the long run reduce carbon emissions and provide cleaner air.”

EPE signed a 20-year purchase power agreement (PPA) with Macho Springs Solar, LLC, owned by Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy.

The facility was built and will be operated by First Solar, a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems utilizing its advanced thin-film modules.

Macho Springs is located on a 597-acre site in Luna County, New Mexico, between Hatch and Deming, New Mexico.

The new solar facility, which is about the same size as 300 football fields, will generate enough clean energy to power more than 18,000 homes.

This project will also displace more than 40,000 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of taking 7,500 cars off the road, and will displace more than 340,000 metric tons of water consumption annually in southern New Mexico and west Texas.

“We continue to look for opportunities to add cost-effective solar energy technologies as the price of solar energy becomes more competitive,” adds Shockley. “At the time we signed our agreement with Macho Springs, it was the cheapest price of solar in the market.

Our commitment to building a portfolio that includes renewable technologies complements our local, clean burning natural gas units, helping to make overall power in our region more dependable, safer and cleaner.”

Earlier in February 2014, El Paso Electric signed a 30-year PPA with Newman Solar LLC, owned by Colorado-based juwi solar Inc. (JSI), which will build the 10 MW solar energy facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas.

The facility is expected to go operational by the end of 2014 powering an additional 3,800 homes.

For additional information and updates, please visit EPElectric.com

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