El Paso Electric Company and juwi solar Bring Big Solar to Texas

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El Paso Electric Company announces it’s signed an agreement to build a 10 MW solar PV facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas. The new solar facility, which will be built on approximately 100 acres, will help power over 3,800 homes.

El Paso Electric Company (EPE), a regional electric utility, and Newman Solar LLC, owned by Colorado-based juwi solar Inc. (JSI), have signed an agreement to build a 10 MW solar PV facility in Northeast El Paso, Texas next to EPE’s Newman Generation Station. JSI will develop, design, build, and operate the Newman Solar project. The design phase will begin in early summer of this year, shortly followed by construction and final completion of the project tentatively scheduled for the end of 2014.

“Our commitment to building a portfolio that includes renewable energy technologies in order to complement our local, clean burning natural gas units help make overall power in our region dependable, safe and cleaner,” said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer at EPE. “We continue to look for opportunities to add cost effective solar energy such as the Newman Solar project, which in the long run helps reduce emissions and provide cleaner air. EPE is at the forefront in the solar energy industry, which is fitting given our location and abundance of the solar resources.”

 

While the utility says it’s interested in expanding its solar portfolio, Shockley also acknowledged that their main push at the moment is natural gas.

 

Still, it’s good to see some new solar coming to Texas, which has immense solar potential. EPE currently has 47 MW of solar power in its generation mix, and it recently secured an additional 50 MW of solar power that will be online by this summer. In total, 5% of EPE’s dedicated generation, which includes long-term purchase power agreements (PPAs), will come from solar energy. EPE’s solar energy output is displayed on its website.

 

The new solar facility, which will be built on approximately 100 acres, will help power over 3,800 homes throughout the year. EPE will sublease the land, currently leased to EPE for the Newman Generation Station, in partnership with the El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU).

 

“At EPWU, we believe strongly in creating a sustainable future for El Paso — that’s why it is important for us to support solar project initiatives,” said John Balliew, President and CEO of EPWU. “EPWU is pleased to be involved with this project as it will provide clean energy for our communities and will contribute to the development of renewable energy resources in the region.”

 

The energy from the Newman Solar project is being secured through a cost-competitive PPA. EPE and JSI signed a 30-year PPA for 10 megawatts (AC) of solar PV energy. EPE will purchase all of the solar energy, renewable energy credits, and associated attributes. The ground-mounted PV system will interconnect to EPE’s new Patriot Substation via a dedicated 13.8 kV distribution feeder.

 

“We are incredibly excited to be working with El Paso Electric and others in the El Paso community to provide clean, reliable solar power to EPE customers in a cost-effective manner,” said Michael Martin, CEO of juwi solar. “We also eagerly anticipate breaking ground and completing our second utility-scale solar project in the state of Texas.”