NRG Energy, Inc, through its wholly owned subsidiary, NRG Solar, will break ground by year end on the Company’s first generation site in New Mexico, the Roadrunner Solar Electric Facility, a 20 megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar project. Power from the facility will be sold to El Paso Electric Co. under a 20-year power purchase agreement. NRG Solar plans to invest a maximum of $21 million in the project over the next three years, subject to final negotiation of the financing terms and conditions.
The Roadrunner facility will be one of the first large-scale solar projects built in New Mexico and will be the state’s second-largest photovoltaic facility when completed in 2011. In addition to helping New Mexico diversify its generation portfolio and meet its renewable energy goals, the project will create as many as 240 construction jobs. At full capacity, the site will be able to meet the energy demands of approximately 16,000 New Mexico families.
“I am pleased that NRG has chosen to expand its solar generation operations to New Mexico,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “My administration has worked closely with NRG, El Paso Electric and local governments to jumpstart this project which will not only create jobs and help us meet our clean energy goals, but furthers our efforts to become the Solar Valley of North America.”
“The merits of solar power—zero-emission, sustainable, coincident with peak demand, compliant with state renewable portfolio standards—are clear,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy. “New Mexico’s motto, Crescit Eundo, or “Grows As It Goes,” sums up how we hope to further our partnership with the state to bring more of solar power’s many benefits to its residents.”
The Roadrunner Solar Electric Facility will be built on a 210-acre privately owned parcel of industrial-zoned land near Santa Teresa, about 10 miles from El Paso, Texas. First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR) will provide engineering, construction and procurement services for the project using its advanced thin film photovoltaic solar modules.
“The agreement with NRG demonstrates our desire to add clean, carbon-free energy to our generation portfolio at a reasonable cost for the benefit of our customers, the environment and the communities we serve,” said David Stevens, El Paso Electric Chief Executive Officer.
Electricity generated at the Roadrunner facility will avoid annual emissions of 27,000 tons of carbon when compared to traditional fossil-fueled generation, or the equivalent of removing 4,800 cars from the road.
NRG Solar is responsible for developing, constructing, financing and operating a multi-technology portfolio of solar power assets in North America. NRG Solar is developing a portfolio of more than 1,000 MW of capacity at sites with strong solar resources, potential for long-term power offtake agreements with load-serving entities and established, easily accessible connections to power grids. These projects support NRG’s commitment to increase its portfolio of low and no carbon generation assets with diverse technologies including new nuclear generation, onshore and offshore wind, biomass projects and a commercial-scale carbon capture project for fossil-fueled generation.
NRG currently operates the largest photovoltaic solar project in California, a 21 MW facility in Blythe. Under a partnership with Eurus Energy America, NRG is building the 45 MW Avenal photovoltaic solar facility in California. NRG is also the lead investor in the Ivanpah Solar Generating Facility, the world’s largest solar thermal project.