Solar arrays in El Rito and Questa coming online provides 3MW of solar power for more than 20,000 customers
Two new solar arrays built by Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) have come online, bringing three additional megawatts of solar power to KCEC’s customer base, which includes more than 20,000 homes and 3,600 businesses. A 1.5MW solar array located on the Northern New Mexico College’s El Rito campus became operational on Dec. 20, and the 1.5MW array located in Questa is operational as of today.
These two arrays help KCEC come even closer to meeting its goal of powering the communities it serves with 100 percent solar energy during the day by 2022. KCEC set this goal when it began its partnership with Guzman Energy, a wholesale power provider who develops customized energy solutions to meet the priorities and goals of its customers. This partnership will not only enable KCEC to meet its daytime solar goal but will ultimately decrease its wholesale power costs by approximately 40 percent.
Construction of the El Rito array began in September 2019. Its 6,000 panels bring 1.5MW of solar power to not only Northern New Mexico College’s El Rito campus, but also 850 homes and businesses. This array has revitalized the Northern campus and created new opportunity for the local community, as five public school districts have come together to support a mill levy on the ballot this fall that will reintroduce career technical education at Northern to include plumbing, pipefitting and electrician training, as well as apprenticeship opportunities for local high school students.
The solar array located in Questa, which began operation today, also provides 1.5MW of solar power to local customers. Construction of the Questa array began in July 2019.
"We are proud of our quick progress in bringing cleaner, more affordable power that provides significant benefit to our community," said Luis Reyes Jr., CEO of KCEC. "These two solar arrays, along with another currently under construction with Guzman Energy in Taos, have supported local jobs and investment and are having tangible economic benefits to our community."
KCEC has partnered with Guzman Energy on the construction of these arrays as part of its overall partnership agreement to help expand the co-op’s renewable energy capacity while also decreasing energy costs for its members. In addition, the arrays were built by local labor, with each megawatt of solar power bringing roughly $1.1 million of labor and construction-related dollars to the community.
"Our work with Kit Carson has had a significant impact to its members and the community overall," said Chris Miller, Chief Operations Officer at Guzman Energy. "Not only will the co-op meet the requirements of the New Mexico Energy Transition Act 19 years earlier than mandated, but it will soon have among the lowest wholesale rates in the region – a huge benefit to the customers it serves."
With these two new arrays becoming operational, KCEC now has 16 live solar arrays, bringing a total of 16.8MW of solar power to local homes and businesses. Four more arrays are in development, and once complete, KCEC will have a total of 53MW of renewable energy, including 38MW of solar and 15MW of storage capacity.
About Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
Formed in 1944, Kit Carson is a member owned electric distribution cooperative in northern New Mexico and is the second largest cooperative in the state. Kit Carson is one of 16 electric cooperatives that serve rural New Mexico communities, serving nearly 30,000 members in Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties. To learn more about Kit Carson, visit www.kitcarson.com.
About Guzman Energy
Guzman Energy is a full-service wholesale power provider focused on providing market-based solutions to address our customers’ energy challenges by delivering reliable, clean and affordable power. We work closely with communities to identify their initial and ongoing energy goals and customize solutions based on increased economic competitiveness and sustainability. Our platform is leading a transformation from the legacy energy economy to the renewable and distributed age. To learn more, visit www.guzmanenergy.com.