Macho Springs eyes Jan. 15 operational start for 50-MW solar project

Macho Springs Solar LLC, which is a unit of First Solar that is developing a 50-MW (AC) solar project in New Mexico, filed on Dec. 20 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a notice of self-certification that it is an exempt wholesale generator.

Macho Springs said it is constructing and owns an approximately 50-MW (AC) photovoltaic (PV) plant located in Luna County, N.M. The facility is expected to begin operational testing in Jan. 15, 2014, and to begin full commercial operation around May 1, 2014.

The facility will consist of 704,160 First Solar Series 3 Black PV modules, and associated facilities and equipment necessary for the generation and sale of power at wholesale. It will also include electric interconnection facilities necessary to make wholesale power sales from the facility. Macho Springs will own the electric interconnection facilities that consist of generator leads, lengths of wire, step-up transformers, substations and/or other related appurtenant equipment to the point of interconnection. The facility will be interconnected with the transmission system operated by El Paso Electric Power (NYSE:EE).

Macho Springs said it plans to sell electric energy and capacity produced from the facility exclusively at wholesale. Before producing or selling power, Macho Springs will file with the commission for authorization under section 205 of the Federal Power Act to make wholesale power sales at market-based rates.

El Paso Electric Power, the New Mexico State Land Office and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced July 1 that construction had started on what will be the state’s largest solar power plant, located on State Trust Land near Deming in Luna County. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement between El Paso Electric and First Solar, the 50-MW (AC) project will generate enough clean energy to power more than 18,000 average customer homes in the El Paso Electric service territory, the parties said.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.