New Mexico Utility Adds Its First Solar Facility
The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) officially turned on its first large-scale solar plant and Albuquerque's largest solar installation. Comprised of 30,000 solar panels, the 2 MW photovoltaic solar plant will generate enough electricity to power 630 New Mexico homes.
PNM is New Mexico's largest utility, providing electricity to 500,000 customers. According to PNM's website, "New Mexico has the nation's fourth-largest coal reserve and is the second-largest producer of natural gas." To this end, the utility generates the majority (41%) of its electricity from coal-fired power plants and natural gas (22%).
However, in order to meet state renewable energy requirements, the company will continue to tap a another abundant resource in New Mexico -- the sun.
According to Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) data, the average number of hours of annual sunshine in New Mexico ranges from 3,700 in the southwest to 2,800 in the north-central portions. PNM said it will build four 5 MW solar farms in 2011 in its continued effort to expand its renewable energy portfolio.
“The five solar plants together will offset 44 million pounds of carbon, or the equivalent of removing 4,500 cars from the road – a relatively small but important contribution toward lowering the impact of power production on our environment,” PNM President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn.
Image Credit: faithx5 via Flickr
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