Oct. 19, 2011
Alamogordo Solar Energy Center Now Producing Power for PNM Customers
Alamogordo, N.M.: Joined by elected officials and community leaders, PNM today officially added the new Alamogordo Solar Energy Center to its portfolio of renewable energy resources to serve customers. The solar power plant is the fourth of five PNM will complete this year.
“We are proud of this new, emissions-free facility and the opportunity to make this investment in Alamogordo,” said Ron Darnell, vice president, Regulatory Policy, at today’s dedication.
While the plant was dedicated today, it began sending power on to the grid Oct. 14. It is the fourth of five new solar plants PNM will build this year. Comprised of 78,000 solar photovoltaic panels that fill 50 acres, the Alamogordo facility can produce up to 5 megawatts of power on sunny days. Over the course of a year, it is expected to generate enough electricity to power about 1,600 average-sized New Mexico homes.
The five solar energy centers are being built as part of the company’s effort to comply with New Mexico’s renewable portfolio standard, which currently requires that 10 percent of energy provided to customers come from renewable resources. PNM solar energy centers already are up and running in Albuquerque, Los Lunas and Deming. The fifth facility, in Las Vegas, is under construction and will be completed within the next two months.
“Solar certainly has a place in our energy portfolio,” Darnell said. “At the same time, it is important for customers to understand there is no ‘silver bullet’ for producing energy that is affordable, reliable and free of emissions. The best approach is a variety of resources that work together to balance affordability, reliability and environmental impact.”
The five solar plants together, when completed, should produce 51 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, or enough energy to power 7,000 homes. Additionally, they will offset 44 million pounds of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of removing 4,500 cars from the road.
With growing participation in PNM programs that offer incentives for customers to purchase their own solar energy systems, PNM expects to have 47 megawatts of solar power on its system by the end of 2011: 22 megawatts from the five solar plants and an additional 25 megawatts from customer-owned solar systems. This is in addition to 200 megawatts of wind energy capacity from the New Mexico Wind Energy Center that PNM added to its system in 2003, before the state passed its renewable standard.
Photos of today’s dedication will be available in the next few hours on the PNM Facebook page.