There’s exciting news for followers of the New Mexico solar industry! Salt River Project, or SRP, one of the largest utility companies in Arizona, is looking to expand its renewable energy portfolio by 400 MW.
To accomplish this, they’re looking for solar companies who can build their solar farms- including New Mexico solar companies. SRP issued a request on January 15th for proposals for plants that can produce between 100 MW, and 200 MW. “Once contracted,” SRP said in a statement, “the 400 MW will position SRP to achieve its goal in acquiring 1,000 MW of new solar energy by 2025.”
Patty Garcia-Likens, spokeswoman for SRP, said, “We are looking for companies to provide bids to build plants and SRP will purchase the energy from the plants. The 400 MW can serve up to 100,000 SRP customers.”
While the energy produced by these solar farms will go to customers of SRP in Arizona, 200 MW of the desired 400 MW will be drawn from solar facilities constructed in the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation includes areas of northeast Arizona, northwest New Mexico, and southeast Utah. The plants can be constructed anywhere within the Navajo Nation that can connect to the SRP grid.
Salt River Project CEO Mike Hummel said in a statement, “This project is critical as it moves us forward in our goal to invest in more solar energy projects and offer our customers a diverse mix of affordable, emission-free power. We are also proud to work with the Navajo Nation as they facilitate further development into renewable energy.”
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is also enthusiastic about this switch to green energy. “We recognize that coal-based energy provided many benefits for the workers and their families, but times are changing, and energy development is changing.” This collaboration was created with a working group that was formed after a tribal proclamation calling for the tribe to diversify its own energy portfolio.
Mr. Nez was absolutely right about energy development changing. People all over the world are looking at energy in a different way. Solar power is becoming more popular every day, and everyone, from homeowners to big utility companies, are making that switch. Local companies and big utilities working together to bring renewable solar power to communities is a great thing, and the fact that it will provide permanent jobs is great too. With any luck, other utilities and large corporations will take this as an example and the solar industry will blossom in other states just like the New Mexico solar industry did.
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