17 October 2011

NRG, El Paso Electric and First Solar dedicate opening of New Mexico's second-largest PV plant

NRG Solar LLC (a subsidiary of power generation firm NRG Energy Inc of Princeton. NJ), regional utility El Paso Electric and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film photovoltaic (PV) module maker First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ hosted New Mexico state and local officials at their 20MW Roadrunner Solar Generating Facility to dedicate the start of energy production from what is the state’s second-largest photovoltaic (PV) project.

It is also the third large-scale solar generation plant that NRG has brought online to date — totaling more than 86MW — and its first outside California. NRG Solar has more than 2000MW of PV and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the southwestern USA.

“Today marks another step towards American energy independence with the completion of the Roadrunner Solar Generating Facility,” says John Sanchez, Lieutenant Governor of New Mexico. “This 20MW photovoltaic project is diversifying New Mexico’s economy and creating good paying jobs for our state,” he adds.

The facility is located on a 210-acre privately owned parcel of industrial-zoned land near Santa Teresa, about 10 miles from El Paso, TX. First Solar provided engineering, construction and procurement (EPC) services for the project (which uses its modules mounted on single-axis trackers) and will also be the operations and maintenance contractor for the facility. The system rotates the PV solar panels to follow the sun throughout the day, increasing electricity production compared with a fixed-tilt installation. The project created more than 200 jobs during its construction over the past nine months and is now generating electricity to supply thousands of homes.

“Our 20-year contract to purchase the power from this facility marks our largest commitment to solar energy research, education and utilization in our area,” notes El Paso Electric’s CEO David Stevens. With a net dependable generating capability of 1791MW, El Paso Electric provides generation, transmission and distribution service to about 379,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

“The completion of the Roadrunner solar facility is a major milestone for the New Mexico border region,” comments Secretary of Economic Development Jon Barela. “This builds on all the momentum taking place in the region due to the coming together of many entities for the economic development success of Santa Teresa, including NRG Energy, El Paso Electric and First Solar,” he adds.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

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