ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A $260 million solar project opening near Roswell will have the capacity to provide enough power for more than 40,000 homes.
The 1,400-acre solar project is the biggest in the state, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported (http://bit.ly/2dWX9De).
Xcel Energy will purchase power from the Roswell and Chaves County Solar Energy Centers under a 25-year contract with project builder NextEra Energy.
Five people are going to work at the centers full-time.
Xcel Energy New Mexico and Texas president David Hudson said the company is expanding energy that comes from renewable sources.
In New Mexico and Texas, renewable sources account for 20 percent of the power produced by the company.
“I personally believe this is the future that you’re seeing right now,” Hudson said. “I see this as being a target area for future projects just like this.”
He said it is more cost effective to use solar energy produced at the facility rather than power from natural gas.
“We were justified in doing this on an economic basis,” Hudson said.
NextEra Energy Resources executive director Jim Shandalov said construction took a year and led to 300 jobs.
“Normally, a project like this would take five to seven years to do,” he said. “For this project, it was just an idea in June 2014 and here we are today.”