First Solar has acquired the 50 MW Macho Springs Solar project that Element Power Solar has developed in Luna County, N.M. When complete, it will be the state's largest solar power project.
The photovoltaic (PV) solar project is expected to be completed in 2014, providing up to 400 construction jobs, and producing enough clean, renewable energy to power over 18,000 homes while displacing 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year — the equivalent of taking 8,000 cars off the road. 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.
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 PV systems have the smallest carbon footprint and shortest energy payback time of any PV technology on the market today.
First Solar completed New Mexico's 30 MW Cimarron Solar facility in 2011, which is owned by Southern Co. 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.