PNM & First Solar Sign 22-MW PV Deal

New Mexico utility PNM this week signed a contract with First Solar to construct 22 megawatts (MW) of utility scale photovoltaic solar power plants. First Solar will construct the facilities using its thin-film PV panels at five separate sites within PNM’s service territory. The sites will be chosen based on cost, availability and suitability of land; the quality of a site’s solar potential; environmental and permitting considerations; and level of local support.

If approved by state regulators, the 22-MW project would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement PNM reached with state environmental, renewable energy and governmental organizations two weeks ago.

The specifics of that plan, to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) on January 25, call for a total of 45 MW of utility scale solar PV to be added to PNM’s system in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

Construction on the first site is expected to start by 2011, or as soon as the PRC approves PNM’s renewable plan. First Solar expects construction at all five sites to be completed by late 2011. The build-outs will create approximately 100 construction jobs.

Once completed, PNM will own the sites as part of its generation portfolio to serve New Mexico customers.

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