GROUND MOUNT SYSTEM
Kit Carson Rural Electric Cooperative
- System Specs | 1.48 MW
- System Production | 2,900 MWh annually
- Environmental Benefits | Eliminates the environmental impacts of 240,2222 gallons of gasoline annually
The Kit Carson Electrical Cooperative (KCEC) is a member-owned Electric Cooperative Distribution Cooperative that services over 29,497 members in Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba Counties. The second largest cooperative in the state of New Mexico, KCEC is known as a national leader in the deployment of solar energy. KCEC combined efforts with the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA) to develop a 14 acre photovoltaic solar system to provide power to businesses and residences in northern Taos County.
The history of the solar project is deep and rich. For nearly 30 years the members of the RCCLA have had a mission to boost the economy and prominence of the small town of Amalia; and local members of the RCCLA have worked with KCEC to support their vision. Through the recommendation of a local rancher, Standard Solar (SSI) became involved with RCCLA. While the collaborative effort signified a considerable milestone for the town of Amalia, the team’s plans were challenged when financing could not be secured.
As incentives became available, KCEC partnered with SSI and Washington Gas and Energy Systems (WGES) to develop and finance the project. WGES was selected as the financier for the 25 year power purchase agreement (PPA). The system is installed on property owned by the RCCLA near Amalia, NM and owned and operated by WGES. As the first project for SSI in the New Mexico market, SSI was committed to resourcing the support of local workforce to participate in the construction of the system and the ongoing operations and maintenance. “Through this agreement with KCEC and RCCLA, we (have brought) solar power to KCEC customers in northern Taos County,” said Standard Solar CEO Tony Clifford. “It is an exciting project for both the customers who (now) reap the benefits of renewable energy and for Standard Solar as we (have) extended our business into the Southwest.”
The 1.48 MW single-axis tracking solar electric system generates in excess of 2.9 million kWh of clean, renewable electricity annually. A single-axis tracking array moves the solar panels throughout the day to ensure they are always absorbing as much of the sun’s energy as possible. Consisting of 5,280 panels, the solar project offsets approximately 1,500 tons of greenhouse gases per year, the equivalent of planting a 221 acre forest.
Dubbed the RCCLA Amalia Solar Array 1, the array covers more than 15.5 football fields and provides approximately 1.25 MW of AC power at full capacity. It is one of the largest areas of land that supplies electricity from renewable sources to the largest number of power consumers in New Mexico. “This project is a big win for Taos County, both economically and environmentally,” said Kit Carson CEO Luis Reyes. “Further as one of the largest solar projects in the Kit Carson service territory, it is an important step for KCEC as we continue to integrate solar electricity into our local distribution grid.”
Standard Solar has committed to using Taos County businesses, professional firms and craftspeople to construct, commission and maintain the solar system. The project not only provides clean energy to numerous consumers in the Amalia area but also helped to boost the local economy with employment through quality clean energy jobs. Completed in April 2012, the system continues to service the local Amalia communities who reap the benefits of renewable energy.