Two solar projects in New Mexico that can together generate about 140 MW of power were commissioned Oct. 6 by Xcel Energy (NYSE:XEL) and NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE).
NextEra subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources developed and built the projects in Roswell and Chaves County. NextEra will also operate them.
The energy will serve customers of Xcel Energy in New Mexico and Texas starting this year, under two power purchase agreements approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
The Roswell and Chaves County Solar Energy Centers feature approximately 600,000 solar panels with trackers that will follow the sun from east to west each day to maximize energy production. Together, they have a generating capacity of 140 MW or enough to power more than 40,000 homes.
Market sales for the 70-MW Roswell project were approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in July. Chaves County is also a 70-MW project and an additional 30-MW of solar is also planned for the Chaves County site.
The projects created about 300 jobs during the construction phase, as well as five full-time positions to operate them.
“Our customers have told us they want more affordable, renewable energy, generated by the state’s own sunshine, and these projects are an excellent demonstration of how we are delivering on that commitment for our customers,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy New Mexico and Texas.
“Solar energy creates solid, high-paying jobs and produces millions of dollars in payments over the life of the project to landowners and local government that directly benefit schools, roads and essential services,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources.
Roswell is the county seat of Chaves County, which located in southeastern New Mexico. Roswell is associated with the 1940s crash of a military surveillance balloon that would subsequently become known as the Roswell UFO incident.