20 January 2010


First Solar to provide 22MW of CdTe PVs to New Mexico utility PNM

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA, which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe), has signed a contract to construct 22MW AC of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants at five separate sites within the service territory of New Mexico’s largest electric utility PNM (a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company based in Albuquerque, NM), which provides electric utility service to about 500,000 retail customers.

The 22MW of capacity will be sufficient to supply 7000 average-sized New Mexico homes, says PNM. If approved by state regulators, this capacity would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement that PNM reached two weeks ago with state environmental, renewable energy and governmental organizations. The plan’s specifics — to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) on 25 January — call for a total of 45MW of utility-scale solar PV to be added to PNM’s system in the 2010—2011 timeframe.

The sites will be chosen on the basis of cost, availability and suitability of land; the quality of a site's solar potential; environmental and permitting considerations; and the level of local support (the sites chosen 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 should create about 100 construction jobs. Once completed, PNM will own the sites as part of its generation portfolio to serve New Mexico customers.

More than 1800MW of First Solar’s PV panel technology has been deployed so far in multiple projects worldwide. “PNM’s decision to use First Solar’s panels demonstrates the value PV technology can bring to electric utilities seeking to adopt renewable energy generation,” says First Solar’s president Bruce Sohn. New Mexico has excellent solar resources and is well positioned to take advantage of affordable renewable energy, he adds.

See related item:

First Solar acquires project development pipeline of Edison Mission Group

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