ENMU wins bid for solar energy project

Xcel Energy has awarded a major solar energy project to Eastern New Mexico University in Portales that will offset nearly half of the energy needs on campus over a 20-year period. The project will generate approximately two megawatts of installed system capacity on the site.

ENMU won the bid in a competitive process through the Xcel Solar Rewards program, designed to demonstrate the use of solar energy and meet the state of New Mexico’s clean energy targets, while providing the customer with a long-term and steady supply of “green” electricity. The project has the potential to save a significant amount in electricity costs over a 20-year period, and, unlike energy from conventional sources, the cost of the solar energy will not increase over this time.

“We are pleased that, out of 20 applications, Eastern New Mexico University was selected for this solar energy project,” said Steven Gamble, ENMU president.

“Eastern is committed to renewable energy sources which lessen New Mexico’s dependence on fossil fuels. This will save New Mexico taxpayers significant tax dollars over the coming years.”

Under the Xcel Solar Rewards program, solar panels are installed and connected to the electrical grid. During daylight hours, electricity generated by the panels flows back into the grid and Xcel.

Xcel receives renewable energy credits from the State of New Mexico to meet the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard, which requires New Mexico’s regulated utilities to produce 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The solar panel project is expected to occupy 20 acres next to the campus and take a year to build. Once completed in 2012, ENMU will offset nearly half of its conventional energy consumption with solar power, making it one of the most energy efficient and carbon-neutral college campuses in the U.S.

— Submitted by Eastern New Mexico University.