Tri-State’s members adding solar facilities

Two of Tri-State’s member systems in New Mexico have recently added, or are planning to add, solar facilities to their renewable resource portfolios, while one Colorado co-op has a small solar garden in the works this spring.

Earlier this year, Otero County Electric added this 76-kilowatt solar garden to their system. It is owned and operated by the co-op.

Earlier this year, Otero County Electric added this 76-kilowatt solar garden to their system. It is owned and operated by the co-op.

By far, the largest of those three solar arrays will be Mora-San Miguel Electric Cooperative’s (Mora, N.M.) planned 1.5-megawatt solar plant slated for construction later this year by Standard Solar. Mora-San Miguel has signed a 25-agreement to purchase the output of the facility, which will be constructed approximately two miles east of the Storrie Lake Substation. The new solar plant will be owned and operated by Standard Solar.

Earlier this year, another New Mexico co-op, Otero County Electric Cooperative (Cloudcroft, N.M.), completed its first solar garden, which is owned and operated by the cooperative.

The 76-kilowatt facility is located adjacent to the co-op’s Alamogordo Substation. The solar garden is comprised of 253 panels producing a maximum of 300 watts per panel.

“This project will provide renewable energy for our members and valuable experience to our employees,” said Clint Gardner, manager of member services for Otero County Electric. Gardner said that production projections estimate that their solar garden will produce about 143,000 kilowatt-hours per year.

At the lower end of the renewable scale, Gunnison County Electric Association (Gunnison, Colo.) is working with the Town of Crested Butte to develop a small solar garden (4.6-kilowatts) on the roof of the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The small array will be built to allow for expansion and the panels will be available for lease to the co-op’s consumers. The price for leasing the panels has yet to be determined and the project is planned for completion by June 1.

All three of these member projects are supported by the association’s renewable energy policies, which assist in developing local renewable projects. To date, Tri-State’s membership has online or in development a combined 52 megawatts of local renewable and distributed generation projects throughout Colorado and New Mexico.

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