El Paso Electric wins okay for 5-MW solar project at New Mexico air base

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission granted an Oct. 7 final approval on a recommended decision issued by a hearing examiner on an application of El Paso Electric for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for a 5-MW solar project at Holloman Air Force Base in Otero County, New Mexico.

Commission staff on Aug. 11 had endorsed the June 15 application from El Paso Electric (EPE) to build this project. The Holloman Solar Facility (HSF) is to be built and operated by EPE at the request of the Holloman Air Force Base for purposes of load retention, and costs of the project will be borne by the Air Force. Once operational, the solar farm will assist the Air Force in meeting its renewable energy and energy security goals.

Time was of the essence for this application because the facility will be eligible for the 30% investment tax credit if it is placed into service prior to Jan. 1, 2017, the date that the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) is currently set to expire.

The project consists of a 5-MW (ac) solar facility with 1-axis tracking to be built on approximately 53 acres leased from the Air Force.  The estimated cost for the construction of this solar facility is approximately $11.8 million plus about $290,000 in Allowance for Funds Used During Construction (AFUDC) for a total of about $12.1 million. The estimated cost for the associated interconnection facilities is around $230,0005.

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.