March 7, 2013
PNM Plans More Solar Energy for Otero County
Albuquerque: PNM has announced plans to construct a new solar energy center in Otero County this year.
"It is exciting to be breaking ground on our newest solar center," said Gary Barnard, PNM director of renewable energy development. "As with our other projects, we are planning this solar center 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."
The 7.5-megawatt PNM Otero County Solar Energy Center will be constructed on a 70-acre site southeast of Tularosa on U.S. Highway 70 and County Road 545. Over the course of a year, 101,250 solar panels will convert the sun's energy into roughly the amount of electricity used by 2,250 average-sized homes and reduce annual carbon emissions by 7,200 tons, the equivalent of removing 1,360 cars from the road.
The project should create temporary jobs during construction and provide thousands of dollars of new tax revenue for Otero County next year, said Barnard.
First Solar of Tempe, Ariz. manufactured the panels and will oversee the expansion. Grading at the site will begin this month in preparation for panel installation this summer. Construction will be complete on or before November, he said.
PNM built a 5-megawatt solar center in Alamogordo in 2011. Located just north of Highway 70 and Airport Road, the PNM Alamogordo Solar Energy Center generates the amount of electricity used by 1,600 homes over the course of a year. In 2011, PNM also brought solar centers in Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Los Lunas and Deming online. This year, in addition to building the Otero County center, PNM will also build a new solar center in Valencia County and expand its existing centers in Los Lunas and Deming to meet state renewable energy requirements.
Because solar PV only produces energy when the sun shines, PNM is leading the PNM Prosperity Energy Storage Project to help utilities learn to store solar energy for later use.
Learn 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.