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Solar Farm, Image via Flickr.

Santa Fe County approves a pair of solar farms

SANTA FE – Public Service Company of New Mexico has gotten approval from the Santa Fe County Commission to build two solar farms aimed at helping the company increase its use of renewable energy.

While one passed unanimously and without opposition, another was contested by neighboring landowners and was approved 4-0 with Commissioner Liz Stefanics abstaining.

“I just think there are too many questions,” Stefanics said in explaining why she didn’t vote on a motion to approve the smaller of the two arrays.

Attorney Ron VanAmberg and his clients Phillip and Matthew Baca, owners of the Baca Ranch, objected to an array planned for a 40-acre site off Caja del Rio Road, saying there hadn’t been sufficient notice of the project and that a still-unpublished archaeological report indicates that there are thousands of artifacts in the area dating back 6,000 years.

Commission Chairman Robert Anaya was not open to delaying a vote on the project.

“Anyone can appeal in District Court,” Anaya said.

Related: Santa Fe County commission OKs applications for solar sites

That Caja del Rio Solar Energy Center, as it’s called, will be an $11 million solar array consisting of 20,000 panels capable of producing more than 13,600 megawatt-hours per year.

That’s enough to provide power for about 2,000 average residential customers, according to PNM. When up and running, PNM says it will generate about $96,000 in property taxes and payments to the county.

The larger of the two projects, a 10-megawatt solar farm, will be built on 100 acres off Interstate 25’s east frontage road south of town near the National Guard building.

The Santa Fe Solar Energy Center will have more than 40,000 tracking panels that could generate as much as 27,000 megawatt-hours per year, or about the same amount of energy used by 4,000 average residential customers, PNM says.

PNM estimates the total cost of that project to be about $19 million. When operational, PNM says the project will bring in about $165,000 per year in property taxes and payments.

Both projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year or early next year.


This article was written by T.S. Last from Albuquerque Journal and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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