Albuquerque, N.M., January 20, 2010 — New Mexico electric utility PNM signed a contract with First Solar to construct 22 MW AC of utility scale photovoltaic solar power plants in New Mexico.
First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, will construct the facilities using its advanced PV panels at five separate sites within PNM’s service territory.
The sites will be chosen based on cost, availability and suitability of land; the quality of a site’s solar potential; environmental and permitting considerations; and level of local support.
If approved by state regulators, the 22 MW AC of new solar capacity — which, according to PNM, can produce enough power to supply 7,000 average sized New Mexico homes — would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement PNM reached with state environmental, renewable energy and governmental organizations two weeks ago.
The specifics of that plan, to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Jan. 25, call for a total of 45 MW of utility scale solar PV to be added to PNM’s system in the 2010-2011 timeframe.
Sites chosen to host the solar PV facilities will be announced as they are determined. Construction on the first site is expected to start by 2011, or as soon as the PRC approves PNM’s renewable plan.
First Solar expects construction at all five sites to be completed by late 2011. The build-outs will create about 100 construction jobs. Once completed, PNM will own the sites as part of its generation portfolio to serve New Mexico customers.
PNM is a unit of PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in Albuquerque, N.M. PNM provides electric utility service to about 500,000 retail customers in New Mexico.
First Solar manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) system solutions.