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PNM, First Solar Sign Contract For 22 Megawatts Of Utility Scale Solar Power For New Mexico

Five Photovoltaic Solar Power Plants to Be Located in PNM-s Service Territory

PNM, New Mexicos largest electric utility, has signed a contract with First Solar to construct 22 megawatts (MW) AC of utility scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power plants in New Mexico..
First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, will construct the facilities using its advanced PV panels at five separate sites within PNMs service territory. The sites will be chosen based on cost, availability and suitability of land; the quality of a sites solar potential; environmental and permitting considerations; and level of local support.
"We are proud to have a company with First Solars internationally recognized expertise and reputation building these facilities to help us meet the growing energy needs of our customers," said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM president and CEO. More than 1,800 MW of First Solars PV panel technology has been deployed in multiple projects throughout the world.
"PNMs decision to use First Solars panels demonstrates the value PV technology can bring to electric utilities seeking to adopt renewable energy generation," said Bruce Sohn, First Solar president. "We are pleased to be working with PNM in New Mexico, a state that has excellent solar resources and is well positioned to take advantage of clean, affordable energy."
If approved by state regulators, the 22 MW AC of new solar capacity which, according to PNM, can produce enough power to supply 7,000 average sized New Mexico homes would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement PNM reached with state environmental, renewable energy and governmental organizations two weeks ago. The specifics of that plan, to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) on Jan. 25, call for a total of 45 MW of utility scale solar PV to be added to PNMs system in the 2010-2011 timeframe.
Vincent-Collawn said that sites chosen to host the solar PV facilities 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 PNMs renewable plan. First Solar expects construction at all five sites to be completed by late 2011. The build-outs will create approximately 100 construction jobs. Once completed, PNM will own the sites as part of its generation portfolio to serve New Mexico customers.
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