Renewable Energy, Solar

El Paso Electric, SunEdison inaugurate Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm

El Paso, N.M., June 19, 2012 — Officials from El Paso Electric Co. and SunEdison, gathered to inaugurated and name the 12 MW solar power plant located near Las Cruces International Airport in El Paso, N.M.

The Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm was recently activated in May 2012 and is part of EPE‘s ongoing strategy to increase renewable energy as part of the generation mix used to meet its customers’ demand. Since 2011, EPE has invested in more than 37 MW of solar generating capacity, including construction and contracts to purchase power.

The Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm is comprised of more than 48,000 of MEMC’s high-performance Silvantis P280 photovoltaic modules and covers about 140 acres. It is expected to produce more than 32 million kWh of solar energy in the first year alone, and over 773 million kWh hours over 25 years — enough energy to power more than 72,000 average-sized US homes for one year.

This solar farm was made possible through a power purchase agreement between SunEdison and EPE. SunEdison was responsible for the construction and financing of the project and will oversee operation and maintenance of the power plant over the 25-year contract period. In return, EPE will purchase all the energy produced from the solar farm.

The energy produced from the farm and the environmental attributes associated with the system are expected to offset more than 1.1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide over the 25 years. That is equivalent to removing more than 112,000 cars off the road over 25 years, or about 4,400 cars per year.

EPE and SunEdison will soon activate a second solar farm located in Chaparral, N.M. The 10 MW solar farm is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. Equity financing for the Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm was provided by PNC Energy Capital.