GROUND MOUNT SYSTEM
Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative, Las Vegas, NM
- System Specs | 1.8 MW
- System Production | 3.5 million kWh annually
- Environmental Benefits | Offsets 2,413 tons of CO2, equivalent offset to 1,978 acres of forest
Solar Farm Helps New Mexico Electrical Coop Meet Renewable Energy Mandate
The Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative (MSMEC) is a member-owned, progressive, electric cooperative serving the rural communities of northern New Mexico, including Mora, San Miguel, Guadalupe and Santa Fe Counties. Dedicated to providing reliable, affordable electric power to its 10,000+ consumer-owners, MSMEC developed an energy-saving 1.8 Megawatt, ground-mounted solar farm to provide clean power to local businesses and residences.
According to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements for rural electric cooperatives dictate that renewable energy must comprise of no less than 5 percent of retail sales to New Mexico customers by 2015, increasing at a rate of 1 percent annually until 2020, at which time it will be 10 percent. In addition to the RPS, coops are also required to offer a voluntary renewable energy program to their customers provided their supplier makes renewable resources available.
In order to meet the Commission’s requirements, and provide cost-effective renewable energy to its customers, MSMEC looked toward the clear benefits of solar energy. Having recently completed a successful solar project for Kit Carson Electrical Cooperative in nearby Taos County, national solar energy company Standard Solar was the ideal partner to help MSMEC’s solar project come to fruition.
Standard Solar and local solar developer, Ute Peak Solar, co-developed a 1.8 Megawatt, ground-mounted solar array in Las Vegas, approximately two miles east of the Cooperative’s Storrie Lake Substation. The array provides approximately 5 percent of MSMEC’s load with locally produced clean energy and makes up half of its renewable energy mandate through 2020. Financing for the project was arranged through a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) by Urban Grid Holdings, LLC (Urban Grid), a specialist in the development and financing of mid- to large-sized commercial solar projects.
“We are seeing tremendous growth in the number of electric cooperatives across the United States that support solar energy systems to provide electricity for their members. We were pleased to team up once again with Standard Solar for this project which will provide renewable electricity to the members of the Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative,” said Urban Grid’s CEO, Frank DePew. “With this project, the Cooperative displays their commitment to providing members with clean renewable energy from the sun without compromising its affordable rates.”
Standard Solar used Energy Concepts, a local Sapello, NM electrical contractor and solar installer, as the local general contractor and system installer bringing employment and revenue to the Las Vegas economy.
The 6,336 panel solar array, completed in October 2014, sits on the same land that was once a major trading stop at the end of the Santa Fe Trail and the one-time Southwestern regional headquarters for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. With an expected annual output of more than 3.5 million kilowatt hours (enough to power 223 homes for one year), it is forecasted to provide the Cooperative and its ratepayers energy savings of nearly $500,000 over the life of the agreement.
“As one of the leading states driving America’s energy boom, New Mexico is a great place for solar projects like this one for the Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative,” said Tony Clifford, CEO, Standard Solar. “This is Standard Solar’s latest major project in New Mexico where it has partnered with local companies to bring jobs and local production of clean energy through the development of a solar farm.”