First Solar has acquired the 50-MW Macho Springs Solar project that Element Power Solar is developing in Luna County, N.M. When complete, it will be the state’s largest solar power project.
The photovoltaic solar project is expected to be completed in 2014, providing up to 400 construction jobs, and producing enough clean energy to power over 18,000 homes. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The Macho Springs Solar project is located on land leased from the New Mexico State Land Office and electricity from the facility will be purchased by El Paso Electric under a power purchase agreement that is subject to regulatory approvals, expected in the first half of 2013.
“We’re very excited to continue our work in New Mexico, increasing the state’s utility-scale solar generation capacity,” says Dana Diller, First Solar Vice President of U.S. Business Development.
The Macho Springs project was the result of a Request for Proposal (RFP) by El Paso Electric to include additional electric peaking resources in its current energy mix.
First Solar will construct the Macho Springs facility using its advanced thin-film PV modules. First Solar says its PV systems have the smallest carbon footprint and shortest energy payback time of any PV technology in the market today.
First Solar completed New Mexico’s 30 MW Cimarron Solar facility in 2011, which is owned by Southern Company and Turner Renewable Energy. First Solar also completed 22 MW of solar projects in the state for PNM Resources, Inc. in 2011 and has been selected to build another 21.5 MW for PNM for expected completion in late 2013.