Solar Energy Center Coming to Cibola County

February 28, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 10:07 am

Solar Energy Center Coming to Cibola County

By Donald Jaramillo

Cibola Beacon


CIBOLA COUNTY – Officials from PNM announced a new Solar Energy Center in Cibola County at Wednesday evening’s County Commission meeting.

The Energy Center will be located in the northeast part of the County near the old Marquez Village, about 20 miles east of Seboyeta.

County Commission Chairman Eddie Michael said he was approached by PNM officials just last week about the presentation and welcomed it with open arms.

“We may as well diversify,” said Michael.  “I spoke to County Manager Scott Vinson about the project and we added it to the agenda.”

The project is part of PNM’s 2014 Renewable Energy Plan. It will take approximately 100 acres of land for the 7.6 megawatt tracking solar facility.

The project is estimated to cost $14 million and will employ 150 to 200 people during construction.

The Energy Center will bring approximately $150,000 in tax revenue to Cibola County, PNM officials said to the Commission.

“One-half of it is going to the (Grants/Cibola County) School District,” they added.

The Energy Center was touted by PNM to be clean, creating no air emissions or waste products and uses no water to produce electricity.

“It is low risk,” said a PNM official.

The targeted date for the Solar Energy Center to become fully operational is December.

The State Public Regulatory Commission has required energy providers to be at 15 percent renewable energy by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020. The Energy Center is expected to help provide a small percentage of that requirement for PNM.

“The price of solar energy is coming down,” said the PNM official who gave the presentation, “making it more attractive to energy providers.”

An old abandoned power line is being used to distribute the energy created by the panels, according to Chairman Michael.

Chairman Michael said he is aware of a possibility of the second solar energy opportunity to sited in western Cibola County, however, he could not release any information at this point.

Michael emphasized to PNM officials to keep the taxes necessary in Cibola County.

PNM officials did say the contractor for the project is First Solar, and that they do hire local residents.

PNM does not provide energy to Cibola County’s residents. The supplier for Continental Divide Electric Cooperative is Tri-State.

Commissioners appeared to be satisfied with the new Energy Center coming to Cibola County.

The item on the agenda was not an action item, just a presentation.

Editor’s Note: See next week’s Beacon for more news coming from the Cibola County Commission meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26.


Friday, February 28, 2014 10:07 am.

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