First Solar agrees to build 23 MW for PNM in New Mexico

First Solar (FSLR) has agreed to build three solar units totaling 23 MW (AC) for PNM (NYSE:PNM) subsidiary Public Service Company of New Mexico.

First Solar said in a July 24 statement that it will serve as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor using its advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Contingent on approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, which PNM filed for earlier this month, the agreement establishes terms for the plants’ EPC work.

The projects are part of PNM’s 2014 portfolio of renewable energy resources. These new projects are in addition to five plants completed in 2011 and more than 21 MW of additional solar capacity will be completed for PNM this year; all totaling 67MWAC that First Solar has contracted or is expected to construct with PNM by the end of 2014.

PNM serves about 500,000 electric customers state-wide. On July 1, PNM announced plans to increase the solar PV it owns by 30% in 2014 and to increase the wind on its system by 50% in 2015.

PNM also has an agreement to close two units at the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station by the end of 2017.

The First Solar statement did not reveal the value of the PNM contract agreement. When contacted, a spokesperson said the locations of the projects are not yet being announced. But the spokesperson did add that PNM is reviewing potential sites in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area, and has not finalized exact locations.

The three projects, once approved, are expected to begin construction and be completed in 2014. Up to 300 local construction jobs are expected at peak.

The solar plants in aggregate will generate enough clean energy to power up to 8,960 average New Mexico homes, displacing about 25,300 metric tons of CO2 annually, First Solar said.

On July 1 First Solar announced that it was breaking ground on the 50-MW AC Macho Springs solar project in New Mexico , which would sell power to El Paso Electric Power (NYSE: EE) once the project is completed in May 2014.

In June First Solar announced that it was holding a public offering of common stock.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at