New Mexico’s Largest Solar Farm To Proceed

New Mexico’s largest solar energy plant, the 50-megawatt Macho Springs Solar Project, will go ahead after a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed by the New Mexico Public Regulator and El Paso Electric Power.
 
Under the arrangement, El Paso Electric – which services almost 390,000 customers in West Texas and the Rio Grande valley – will purchase the entire output from the solar farm for the duration of the PPA.
 
Construction of the plant is set to begin in July and will be completed in 2014. Sited on about 500 acres of state land in Luna County, New Mexico, Macho Springs is expected to generate enough power to provide electricity for around 18,000 homes.
 
The project will avoid 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 7,500 cars off the road, and save up to 340,000 tons of water each year.
 
The Macho Springs project will create 300 new jobs during its year-long construction phase and three full-time maintenance and operation positions. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell said in a statement that the lease payments from the solar plant could generate as much as $40 million for state land trust beneficiaries over the 40-year term of the lease.
  
The Macho Springs Solar plant is another addition to First Solar Inc’s stable of utility-scale solar power plants, including California’s massive 550-megawatt Topaz and Desert Sunlight solar farms.
  
“We are very pleased to support El Paso Electric’s efforts to provide clean, reliable, renewable power to its customers, and contribute economic benefits and green jobs created by utility-scale solar development to Luna County,” said Michael Hatfield, First Solar Director of Project Development.