A 50-megawatt solar project is nearing construction on around 400 acres of land belonging to the Jicarilla Apache Nation in northern New Mexico.
At least half of the energy that the new project will produce will be purchased and used by Albuquerque as part of a larger plan to make the city 100 percent reliant on renewable energy sources within the next decade.
Still in the process of receiving the approval of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the project is expected to cost around $220 million to build, with construction beginning next year.
The agreement between the Jicarilla Apache Nation and Albuquerque is part of a larger ambitious effort initiated by the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s Solar Direct program.
That program is geared especially for large electric customers such as municipalities, government entities, and businesses.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, in announcing the project, said that upon completion it could supply more than 60 percent of the energy needs of the city, which currently operates nearly seven hundred buildings.
In addition, by using the energy provided by the Jicarilla Apache project, the city could realize up to $5 million in energy savings during the first five years of the agreement.
The Jicarilla Apache Nation is headquartered in Dulce, 85 miles to the east of Farmington.
By Garry Boulard
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