Construction starts on solar array at New Mexico Air Force base

The United States Air Force and El Paso Electric started construction for a new 5 MW solar facility to serve Holloman Air Force Base.

The solar plant will be an El Paso Electric owned dedicated energy resource for HAFB and is the first renewable energy project that the utility will build to serve a military installation.

“Providing our warfighter with diverse, resilient energy sources is a key component of mission assurance. The Air Force is committed to providing installations the support they need to determine where initiatives and technologies such as on-base solar can complement and enhance installation energy assurance plans,” said Dan Soto, Renewable Energy Division Chief at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center.

“Any time an installation has the opportunity to partner with its utility providers to improve energy resiliency and reduce their carbon footprint through renewable energy production, while at the same time saving tax payers’ money, it is a good day,” said Lt. Col. Joel Purcell, 49th Wing Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

With the addition of this solar power facility, EPE will increase its utility-scale renewable energy solar resources to a total of 115 MWs.

“We are proud to be working with the Air Force by providing large scale solar to help ensure energy security now and in the future,” said Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric President and CEO. “As a recognized leader in the implementation and expansion of utility-scale solar energy, we hope this collaboration with the Air Force, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and everyone involved will lead to additional projects with organizations who share our goal of fostering affordable, sustainable energy in our region.”

M+W Energy, who recently constructed EPE’s community solar facility in east El Paso, Texas, will also be constructing the HAFB solar facility which is expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2018.

“We are pleased to once again work with EPE to help bring more clean energy to the region while employing more than 90 local workers to build this solar facility over the course of construction,” said Jim Brown, President of M+W Energy, Inc.

The solar facility will be located on a 42-acre site within HAFB in New Mexico. The new facility will utilize almost 56,000 thin-film modules and will generate enough clean energy to power more than 1,700 homes annually.

This project will reduce annual CO2 emissions by over 9000 US tons, the equivalent of taking 2,000 cars off the road, and will also save about 9 million gallons of water annually.

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