The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has approved Xcel Energy's purchase of 140 MW of electricity from two planned solar photovoltaic projects near Roswell, N.M.
Xcel Energy has signed two long-term purchased power agreements with affiliates of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources LLC, which owns the projects. The utility expects to add the solar energy capacity before the end of 2016.
David Hudson, president of Southwestern Public Service Co., an Xcel Energy company, said the cost of the solar power to be purchased – aided by New Mexico's production tax credit – starts at $0.035/kWh in 2017, making it one of the most competitive solar contracts in the U.S. The price is below the cost of generating power with some of the company's older natural gas-fueled plants.
The two 70 MW facilities will be constructed on 1,500 acres of private land in Chaves County formerly used for livestock grazing. Construction is expected to start in November and be completed by the end of 2016.