On June 19, 2012, Las Cruces, New Mexico joined the growing number of clean energy communities with the inauguration of a 12-megawatt solar power plant located near the Las Cruces International Airport. The El Paso Electric Company (EPE) and SunEdison, a global solar-energy service provider, collaborated to create and activate the solar farm in May of this year. Officials from the EPE, SunEdison and the Las Cruces Mayor, Ken Miyagishima, held the inauguration ceremony to the launch of The Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm.
The solar farm sits on approximately 140 acres and contains more than 48,000 Silvantis P280 photovoltaic modules, which have the ability to produce more than 32 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy in the first year. The EPE predicts that the farm will produce over 773 million kilowatt hours over 25 years, which would power above 72,000 average-sized U.S. homes for a year. This clean energy solar farm will offset more than 1.1 billion pounds of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) over a 25-year period, which represents the equivalent amount of emission that 112,000 cars emit on the road over the same period.
SunEdison and EPE joined forces with PNC Energy Capital to establish, operate and maintain the Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm for 25 years, wherein EPE will purchase all the energy produced from the farm. In an effort to assist in the construction and operation of the farm, the EPE has invested in various projects amounting to above37-megawatts of solar generating capacity, over the year.
Approximately, 3 percent of EPE’s net generating capacity is from renewable and clean energy, which represents one of the largest percentages of renewable energy for a company of their size in the United States. The EPE and SunEdison will continue to expand their renewable-energy resources with the addition of a 10-megawatt solar farm in Chaparral.