New Mexico State University/El Paso Electric
new mexico state solar

Solar array under construction at New Mexico State University

March 22, 2021
Officials say the system will provide enough solar electricity to power one-third of the Las Cruces campus.

Construction is underway on a renewable energy project at New Mexico State University that is projected to generate enough solar electricity to power about one-third of the university’s 900-acre Las Cruces campus by this fall.

The project, called Aggie Power, stems from a partnership between the university and El Paso Electric (EPE) EPE will own, operate, maintain and oversee the development of the three-megawatt solar photovoltaic project on a 29-acre parcel of land on NMSU’s Arrowhead Park. The technology includes single-access tracking solar panels and a one-megawatt battery pack made by Tesla.

EPE received approval on a special rate contract application related to the project from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission in August 2020 – a requirement that enabled EPE and NMSU to move forward with the project.

After completing testing and commissioning activities, the project will begin supporting a portion of NMSU’s electrical utility load with renewable energy and storage.

Pat Chavez, director of Utilities and Plant Operations, said NMSU has several smaller solar projects throughout the Las Cruces campus, but Aggie Power will be the largest source of green energy once finished. It will be one of three energy sources powering the main campus and give NMSU more flexibility in managing its utility rates and receiving energy, he said.

In addition to providing NMSU with a source of renewable energy, Aggie Power also will serve as a living laboratory for faculty and students majoring in electrical engineering, providing research and training opportunities.

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