Macho Springs solar PV plant comes online in New Mexico

The Macho Springs PV plant
The Macho Springs PV plant will sell electricity at USD 0.0579/kWh. Image: Business Wire.

First Solar Inc. (Tempe, Arizona, U.S.) has completed the 50 MW Macho Springs solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the U.S. state of New Mexico.

Macho Springs made headlines for the very low price of its power purchase agreement (PPA), which was negotiated between First Solar and utility El Paso Electric Co. (EPE, El Paso, Texas, U.S.) at USD 0.0579 per kilowatt-hour.

First Solar constructed and will operate the plant, which comprises its cadmium telluride thin film PV modules. Following negotiation of the PPA Southern Company (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.) and Turner Renewable Energy (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.) purchased the project.

EPE to reach 6% PV in dedicated resources

Macho Springs doubles the size of EPE's utility-scale PV portfolio, and along with another 10 MW under construction will bring PV to 6% of the utility's dedicated resources.

“Our West Texas and southern New Mexico region has the right kind of sun for optimal solar energy production, making this region the ‘Goldilocks’ in terms of climate, humidity and heat characteristics that allow us to expand our renewable portfolio with cost-effective technologies and reliable energy resources,” said EPE CEO Tom Shockley.

“With over 300 days of sunshine every year, we are in the perfect region for solar energy technologies, which in the long run reduces carbon emissions and provides cleaner air.”

EPE to be coal-free by 2016

EPE plans to sell its 7% stake in the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant by its scheduled retirement in July 2016. This was the last coal-fired plant in EPE's dedicated resources, allowing the utility to be coal-free by 2016.

The utility says that this puts it in a good position to comply with new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).



2014-06-17 | Courtesy: First Solar; Image: Business Wire | © Heindl Server GmbH

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