Solar Panels Jan

Two New Kit Carson Electric Co-op Solar Arrays Become Operational

Jan. 8, 2020
Solar arrays in El Rito and Questa coming online brings 3 MW of solar power to more than 20,000 customers.

Two new solar arrays built by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) have come online, bringing an additional 3 MW of solar power to the KCEC’s customer base, which includes more than 20,000 homes and 3600 businesses. .

Construction of the El Rito array had begun in September 2019. Its 6000 panels bring 1.5 MW of solar power to not only Northern New Mexico College’s El Rito campus, but also to 850 homes and businesses. This array has revitalized the Northern campus and created new opportunities for the local community. Five public school districts have come together to support a mill levy on the ballot this fall. This will reintroduce career technical education at Northern to include plumbing, pipefitting, and electrician training, along with apprenticeship opportunities for local high school students.

The solar array located in Questa also provides 1.5 MW of solar power to local customers. Construction of the Questa array had begun in July 2019.

The two arrays are helping the KCEC meet its goal of powering the communities it serves with 100% solar energy during the day by 2022. The KCEC set this goal when it began its partnership with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider which develops customized energy solutions to meet the priorities and goals of its customers.

The KCEC partnered with Guzman Energy on the construction of these arrays as part of its overall partnership agreement to help expand the co-op’s renewable energy capacity while also decreasing energy costs for its members. This partnership will not only enable the KCEC to meet its daytime solar goal but will ultimately decrease its wholesale power costs by approximately 40%. The arrays were built by local labor, with each megawatt of solar power bringing roughly US$1.1 million of labor and construction-related dollars to the community.

"We are proud of our quick progress in bringing cleaner, more affordable power that provides significant benefit to our community," said Luis Reyes Jr., CEO of the KCEC. "These two solar arrays, along with another currently under construction with Guzman Energy in Taos, have supported local jobs and investment and are having tangible economic benefits to our community."

"Our work with the KCEC has had a significant impact on its members and the community overall," said Chris Miller, chief operations officer at Guzman Energy. "Not only will the co-op meet the requirements of the New Mexico Energy Transition Act 19 years earlier than mandated, but it will soon have among the lowest wholesale rates in the region — a huge benefit to the customers it serves."

With these two new arrays becoming operational, the KCEC now has 16 live solar arrays, bringing a total of 16.8 MW of solar power to local homes and businesses. Four more arrays are in development, and once complete, the KCEC will have a total of 53 MW of renewable energy, including 38 MW of solar and 15 MW of storage capacity.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!