March 4, 2013
PNM Plans More Solar Energy for Deming Construction Project Takes off This Summer
Albuquerque: PNM has announced plans to nearly double the size of the PNM Deming Solar Energy Center this year.
"We plan and design our solar centers in a way that will allow us to cost-effectively increase the amount of energy we get from the sun (and the environmental benefits that provides) while ensuring continued reliable service for our customers," said Gary Barnard, PNM director of renewable energy development.
The 5-megawatt solar center, located on an 80-acre site along Columbus Highway just south of Deming, began producing power on Aug. 3, 2011. Over the course of a year, its 78,000 solar panels convert the sun's energy into roughly the amount of electricity used by 1,600 average-sized homes.
By next November when the expansion is complete, the center will boast an additional 60,000 solar panels, increasing the capacity to 9 megawatts capable of producing the electricity used by 2,800 homes. By using the sun's energy instead of fossil fuels to generate electricity, the center will reduce carbon emissions by 8,325 tons a year, the equivalent of removing 1,575 cars from the road.
The expansion should create temporary jobs during construction and provide thousands of dollars of additional tax revenue for Luna County during the first year of operation, said Barnard. First Solar of Tempe, Ariz. manufactured the panels and will oversee the expansion. PNM began grading the site in January in preparation for panel installation this summer.
PNM also has solar facilities in Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Las Vegas and Los Lunas that went online in 2011. In addition to expanding the Deming center, PNM will also build two new solar centers (one in Valencia County and one near Tularosa) and expand its Los Lunas center this year to meet state renewable energy requirements.
While New Mexico has plenty of sun, solar centers only produce energy when the sun is shining, said Barnard. PNM is also heading up the PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project to better understand how to store that energy for later use.
Learn more about PNM solar energy initiatives at PNM.com/solar.
With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.