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Xcel Energy And SunEdison Break Ground On Solar Deployment In New Mexico

The five sites will be comprised of utility-scale, photovoltaic solar power arrays that are expected to deliver more than 112 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in the first year of operation alone.
by Staff Writers
Beltsville MD (SPX) Dec 17, 2010
Community leaders and renewable developers have broken ground on a 54MW photovoltaic solar deployment to be built on five separate sites in Lea and Eddy counties, New Mexico.

SunEdison and Xcel Energy's regional operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, along with local and state dignitaries, have begun construction at one of the sites and discussed its potential with the community.

Held at the Woolworth Community library in Jal, New Mexico, the groundbreaking event highlighted the five-site deployment that is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2011. The five sites will be comprised of utility-scale, photovoltaic solar power arrays that are expected to deliver more than 112 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in the first year of operation alone.

The five-site deployment will help enable Xcel Energy to continue meeting New Mexico's renewable portfolio standard, which requires that regulated electric utilities meet 15 percent of their electricity needs by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020, through renewable energy sources, including solar technologies.

"Xcel Energy has built its reputation on responsible stewardship of our environment while meeting customer expectations for innovation, reliability and competitively priced energy," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company.

"The SunEdison project positions us as a leading provider of solar power and a reliable partner in the development of a renewable energy economy in New Mexico."

The five installations will be built, financed and maintained by SunEdison, under a 20-year solar power services agreement with Xcel Energy, which will buy the solar energy generated by the solar power plants. The deployment will not only provide clean renewable energy to the citizens of New Mexico but will also stimulate local economic growth and job creation.

"I commend SunEdison and Xcel Energy for locating this sustainable energy project in southeast New Mexico," said State Senator Caroll Leavell.

"Lea and Eddy counties embrace oil, gas and nuclear and this will further diversify our local economy as well as the energy security of the nation. It is special that one of the five units will be located on Woolworth Trust property. This private trust funds the Jal Senior Citizen's Center and Woolworth Library. This project will benefit our citizens for years into the future."

"The Carlsbad Department of Development, the City of Carlsbad, and Eddy County have all come together to help make SunEdison's project in Carlsbad a reality," said Tom Martin, President of the Carlsbad Department of Development. Carlsbad and Eddy County look forward to SunEdison's first portion of its two-county project being completed in Carlsbad.

"I know SunEdison can expect great support in its construction and operation of the project, as well as support for future growth and expansion in Eddy County."

"The Economic Development Corporation of Lea County and the Lea County leadership have worked diligently with SunEdison and Xcel Energy to help make this project a reality," said Lisa Hardison, President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County. "We are very proud to have one of the nation's largest solar projects breaking ground in the EnergyPlex."

This 54MW deployment eclipses the 8.22MW (DC) solar power system SunEdison constructed and activated for Xcel Energy in Alamosa, Colorado in December 2007. Once constructed, the 54MW deployment will be the largest in New Mexico.

"SunEdison is proud of our continued relationship with Xcel Energy," stated Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison and Executive Vice President of MEMC.

"Having recently activated a 70MW deployment in Italy, SunEdison has proven our ability to construct and finance large utility-scale solar deployments. We look forward to working with Xcel Energy in helping them reach their renewable energy goals."

It is expected that the 54MW deployment will generate more than 2 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy over twenty years-enough energy to power more than 192,000 average US homes for one year.

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