Maryland-based Standard Solar has announced an agreement with the Kit Carson Rural Electric Cooperative to build a 1.5-MW solar energy plant in Taos County, N.M. that will provide about 25 construction jobs, a Standard Solar spokesperson said. The project is slated to begin in September and be completed by the end of 2011, and will consist of over 5,000 single-axis tracking panels.
Under a power purchase agreement, Standard Solar will own the panels and sell all power to the Kit Carson Rural Electric Cooperative. The project will generate almost 6 million kWhs per year, according to Kit Carson cooperative spokesman Luis Reyes. He said the project will account for just over 2 percent of the electricity demands of the area.
The plant is expected to offset 1,500 tons of greenhouse gases per year, Standard Solar said in a press release.
The Kit Carson cooperative already participates in nine other solar projects, including a project to generate all of the power for the Taos campus of the University of New Mexico and a 1.2-MW solar agreement with Chevron. The district has also helped plan and design parking canopies throughout the area.
“We believe that solar is an important resource that needs to be integrated in our grid,” Reyes said in an email. “We also believe over time solar will become a competitively priced resource, it is a great economic development driver; there is the educational component, and this community embraces clean, renewable energy.”
The Kit Carson service area includes New Mexico’s two largest solar arrays, and is ranked fourth in the nation among rural electric cooperatives by the Solar Electric Power Association. To date, Kit Carson has avoided producing more than 2 million pounds of carbon dioxide, according to data on the cooperative’s website.
Kiera Shien, a spokeswoman who works with Standard Solar, said that the company generally works on the East Coast, and this is its first entry into the New Mexico market.
Image courtesy of Standard Solar.