EL PASO, N.M., June 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima and officials from El Paso Electric Company (EPE), the regional electric utility (NYSE: EE) for the area, and SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR), gathered today to officially inaugurate and name the 12 megawatt solar power plant located near Las Cruces International Airport. The "Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm" was recently activated in May 2012 and is part of EPE's ongoing strategy to increase renewable energy as part of the generation mix used to meet its customers' demand. Since 2011, EPE has invested in more than 37 MW of solar generating capacity, including construction and contracts to purchase power.
The Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm is comprised of more than 48,000 of MEMC's high-performance Silvantis P280 photovoltaic modules and covers approximately 140 acres. It is expected to produce more than 32 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in the first year alone, and over 773 million kilowatt hours over 25 years — enough energy to power more than 72,000 average-sized US homes for one year.
"This project highlights El Paso Electric's commitment to advance the development of renewable energy resources and be a leader in the solar industry," said Tom Shockley, CEO of EL Paso Electric. "EPE continues to evaluate opportunities to invest in additional projects in the future to expand our renewable energy portfolio. Currently, EPE's owned renewable energy projects and purchase power agreements represent almost 3 percent of the Company's net dependable generating capacity, which represents one of the largest percentages of renewable energy for a company of EPE's size in the United States."
This solar farm was made possible through a power purchase agreement between SunEdison and EPE. SunEdison was responsible for the construction and financing of the project and will oversee operation and maintenance of the power plant over the 25 year contract period. In return, EPE will purchase all the energy produced from the solar farm.
"With demonstrated experience and proven technologies and processes, SunEdison is able to provide smart, affordable, solar energy solutions to our utility customers across the globe," stated Tim Derrick, General Manager, SunEdison, North America. "SunEdison is proud of the work accomplished with EPE and commends their leadership and continued commitment to renewable energy."
The energy produced from the farm and the environmental attributes associated with the system are expected to offset more than 1.1 billion pounds of CO2 over the 25 years. That is equivalent to removing more than 112,000 cars off the road over 25 years, or approximately 4,400 cars per year.
EPE and SunEdison will soon activate a second solar farm located in Chaparral, NM. The 10MW solar farm is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.
Equity financing for the Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm was provided by PNC Energy Capital.
About El Paso Electric
El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 380,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000 square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico. With approximately 1,000 employees, El Paso Electric is one of the largest employers in the City of El Paso. El Paso Electric has a net dependable generating capability of 1,785 MW, plus 37MW of renewable purchased power. El Paso Electric's common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "EE." For more information about El Paso Electric Company please visit www.epelectric.com
SunEdison is a global leader in delivering solar power. The company develops, finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. In 2011 SunEdison interconnected approximately 300 Megawatts of solar throughout the world. For more information about SunEdison please visit www.sunedison.com
MEMC is a global leader in the manufacture and sale of wafers and related intermediate products to the semiconductor and solar industries. The company has been a pioneer in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies for over 50 years. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, MEMC enables the next generation of high-performance semiconductor devices and solar cells. Through its SunEdison division, MEMC is also a developer of solar power projects and North America's largest solar energy services provider. MEMC's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "WFR". For more information about MEMC or its Silvantis Modules, please visit www.memc.com