Xcel Energy and SunEdison Break Ground on a 54MW (DC) Solar Deployment in Lea and Eddy Counties, New Mexico

Dec 15, 2010, 13:00 ET from SunEdison

BELTSVILLE, Md., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Community leaders and renewable developers today broke ground on a 54MW photovoltaic solar deployment to be built on five separate sites in Lea and Eddy counties, New Mexico.

SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) and Xcel Energy's regional operating company, Southwestern Public Service Company, along with local and state dignitaries, today began construction at one of the sites and discussed its potential with the community.

Held at the Woolworth Community library in Jal, New Mexico, the groundbreaking event highlighted the five-site deployment that is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2011. The five sites will be comprised of utility-scale, photovoltaic solar power arrays that are expected to deliver more than 112 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in the first year of operation alone. The five-site deployment will help enable Xcel Energy to continue meeting New Mexico's renewable portfolio standard, which requires that regulated electric utilities meet 15 percent of their electricity needs by 2015, and 20 percent by 2020, through renewable energy sources, including solar technologies.

"Xcel Energy has built its reputation on responsible stewardship of our environment while meeting customer expectations for innovation, reliability and competitively priced energy," said Riley Hill, president and CEO of Southwestern Public Service Company, an Xcel Energy company. "The SunEdison project positions us as a leading provider of solar power and a reliable partner in the development of a renewable energy economy in New Mexico."

The five installations will be built, financed and maintained by SunEdison, under a 20-year solar power services agreement with Xcel Energy, which will buy the solar energy generated by the solar power plants. The deployment will not only provide clean renewable energy to the citizens of New Mexico but will also stimulate local economic growth and job creation.

"I commend SunEdison and Xcel Energy for locating this sustainable energy project in southeast New Mexico," said State Senator Caroll Leavell. "Lea and Eddy counties embrace oil, gas and nuclear and this will further diversify our local economy as well as the energy security of the nation. It is special that one of the five units will be located on Woolworth Trust property. This private trust funds the Jal Senior Citizen's Center and Woolworth Library. This project will benefit our citizens for years into the future."

"The Carlsbad Department of Development, the City of Carlsbad, and Eddy County have all come together to help make SunEdison's project in Carlsbad a reality," said Tom Martin, President of the Carlsbad Department of Development. Carlsbad and Eddy County look forward to SunEdison's first portion of its two–county project being completed in Carlsbad. "I know SunEdison can expect great support in its construction and operation of the project, as well as support for future growth and expansion in Eddy County."

"The Economic Development Corporation of Lea County and the Lea County leadership have worked diligently with SunEdison and Xcel Energy to help make this project a reality," said Lisa Hardison, President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County. "We are very proud to have one of the nation's largest solar projects breaking ground in the EnergyPlex."

This 54MW deployment eclipses the 8.22MW (DC) solar power system SunEdison constructed and activated for Xcel Energy in Alamosa, Colorado in December 2007. Once constructed, the 54MW deployment will be the largest in New Mexico.

"SunEdison is proud of our continued relationship with Xcel Energy," stated Carlos Domenech, President of SunEdison and Executive Vice President of MEMC. "Having recently activated a 70MW deployment in Italy, SunEdison has proven our ability to construct and finance large utility-scale solar deployments. We look forward to working with Xcel Energy in helping them reach their renewable energy goals."  

It is expected that the 54MW deployment will generate more than 2 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy over twenty years—enough energy to power more than 192,000 average US homes for one year.  

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters is located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com .

About SunEdison

Sun Edison LLC is a global provider of solar-energy services. 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 2009, SunEdison delivered more kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy than any other solar services provider in North America. For more information about SunEdison, please visit www.sunedison.com.

About MEMC

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 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" and is included in the S&P 500 Index. For more information about MEMC, please visit www.memc.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements, including that the five-site deployment that is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2011; that the sites are expected to deliver more than 112 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy in the first year of operation alone; and the expectation that the 54MW deployment will generate more than 2 million megawatt hours of clean, renewable energy over twenty years. Such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Potential risks and uncertainties include delays or interruptions in construction or deployment; the timely availability of required permits and authorizations for projects from governmental entities and third parties; changes in applicable regulatory requirements and incentives for production of solar power; general business and economic conditions, including seasonality of the industry; and other risks described in MEMC's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Form 10-K for the 2009 fiscal year and its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the first, second and third quarters of 2010. These forward-looking statements represent MEMC's and SunEdison's judgment as of the date of this release. MEMC and SunEdison disclaim, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

SOURCE SunEdison