SANTA FE, USA: SunEdison, North America’s largest solar energy services provider, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, and Xcel Energy’s regional operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, announced a deal for five solar PV installations in New Mexico that will total 50 megawatts (MW) in generation capacity.
The five 10MW sites, to be located in Lea and Eddy counties in southeastern New Mexico, will comprise a utility-scale, ground-mount system that will be fully operational by the end of 2011. In total, the installations will generate enough power for more than 10,000 homes in its first full year of operation.
This total project will enable Xcel Energy to continue meeting New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires that regulated electric utilities meet 15 percent of their electricity needs by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020, through renewable energy sources.
The five installations will be built, financed and maintained by SunEdison, under a 20-year solar power services agreement (SPSA) with Xcel Energy, which will buy the solar power generated by the plant.
“We are thrilled to begin harvesting New Mexico’s rich solar resources, and we are equally proud to add this project to our growing base of wind energy, as we diversify our renewable energy portfolio,” said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. “We are also pleased to be working with SunEdison, a leader in solar development with the experience and financial strength to ensure a smooth project completion.”
This project eclipses the 8.22MW (DC) solar power system SunEdison activated for Xcel Energy in Alamosa, Colorado in December 2007. At 50MW, the Xcel Energy project will be one of the largest in North America.
Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson said the project reflects New Mexico’s sustained commitment to solar energy leadership. “Excellent natural resources, competitive incentives and pro business policies have positioned New Mexico at the forefront of the clean energy economy, and our commitment continues to generate economic development and well-paying jobs throughout the state,” Governor Richardson said.
New Mexico State Senator, Carroll Leavell commented: “I am most appreciative of SunEdison and Xcel Energy for working together for a renewable energy source that will serve southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. This will be of benefit not only as an additional source of energy but also as economic development for Lea and Eddy Counties.”
Lisa Hardison, interim president of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County, said: “Thanks to Xcel Energy, our vision to brand and market Lea County as the EnergyPlex is becoming more and more a reality,” Hardison said. “Xcel Energy’s infrastructure and commitment to the Renewable Portfolio Standard – energy development, overall – are critical to our efforts. With SunEdison in the EnergyPlex now, we have the nation’s most significant energy players across the petroleum, nuclear and renewables industries developing their projects right here.”
Some system facts:
Once completed, it is estimated the five 10MW systems will:
* Power more than 10,000 homes in the first full year of operation by producing 110 million kWh.
* Produce over 2 billion kWh of clean solar energy over a 20-year lifespan. That is enough energy to power over 187,000 homes for one year.
* Offset more than 1.3 million metric tons of CO2 over a 20-year lifespan, equivalent of removing more than 290,000 cars from the road for one year.
Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison and Executive Vice President of MEMC, noted: "Xcel Energy is a visionary electric utility. The company understands how to make utility-scale renewable energy a reality. Their vision enabled by the local and state leadership will facilitate the creation of green jobs in New Mexico.”
Domenech continues, “SunEdison welcomes the opportunity to bring its proven track record in utility-scale solar, financial strength and the most cost-effective technologies to address Xcel Energy’s needs.”