Q: Why did PNM create this program?
A: We know that many of our governmental and large business customers have specific goals for using clean energy and/or reducing their carbon footprints. After the success we found partnering with other large customers to offer renewable energy to power their data center, we wanted to find a way to partner with other large customers, including the City of Albuquerque. PNM Solar Direct was created to help these customers achieve their goals in a cost-effective manner that is consistent with our ongoing transition to cleaner, sustainable energy resources.
Q: How does PNM Solar Direct work?
A: PNM has requested approval from the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission to build a 50 MW solar facility. If this proposal is approved, a large or governmental customer such as the City of Albuquerque will be able to subscribe to PNM Solar Direct to receive electricity matching their usage at a set price from this new solar facility. The customer must commit to purchase the requested amount of electricity for a specific length of time.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: Customers with an aggregate load of 2.5 megawatt (MW) or greater or governmental entities of any size are eligible to become PNM Solar Direct subscribers.
Q: Is PNM building the 50 MW solar facility?
A: No. PNM issued an RFP for competitive proposals to build the solar facility. PNM will enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with the selected bidder.
Q: What is the size of the solar facility that will be built for PNM Solar Direct?
A: PNM is requesting proposals for a 50 MW solar facility. That is enough clean energy to power approximately 16,000 homes for a year.
Q: Where will the solar facility be located?
A: The solar facility will be located within the PNM service area. The exact location depends on the results of the RFP.
Q: How much will the program cost?
A: The cost will depend on the results of the RFP process. Individual customer subscription costs will also depend on the results of the RFP process as well as their desired subscription amount.
Q: How do customers benefit from participating in PNM Solar Direct?
A: PNM Solar Direct will help the City of Albuquerque and other governmental and large commercial customers achieve their clean energy/sustainability goals by receiving solar-generated electricity without having to build their own facilities. In addition, the fixed price of electricity over their subscription term will protect these customers from fluctuating energy costs. In addition, customers will receive a credit on their bills based on their subscription levels.
Q: Why would eligible customers sign up for PNM Solar Direct rather than building the solar facility on their own?
A: It is simple economies of scale. It costs less to generate electricity from a large solar facility than from a small facility. Most customers do not require enough electricity to justify a 50 MW solar facility nor do they have the necessary land to build a facility sized to their needs. Solar generation requires approximately 10 acres per megawatt. The PNM Solar Direct facility will require about 500 acres of land.
Q: Won’t other PNM business and residential customers wind up paying for this?
A: No. PNM Solar Direct will be paid for by voluntary subscribers and will not be financially supported by any other customers.
Q: Will the 50 MW planned for PNM Solar Direct be included for Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) compliance?
A: No. The solar production from PNM Solar Direct will not count toward RPS compliance.
Q: Will PNM Solar Direct be expanded if demand exceeds 50 MW?
A: Based on preliminary discussions with eligible customers, PNM anticipates full subscription of the current 50 MW proposal. If there is enough demand, PNM may consider a second facility.
Q: Why is eligibility limited to large and governmental customers?
A: PNM Sky Blue® offers customers the opportunity to voluntarily subscribe to blocks of renewable energy. However, PNM Sky Blue only has capacity for 1.5 MW of subscriptions, which is not enough to meet the needs of these large customers.