Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:06 AM
octoberlib (6,038 posts)
New Mexico Utility Agrees To Purchase Solar Power At A Lower Price Than Coal
The economic viability of solar power is advancing rapidly. It’s actually already more then competitive within certain markets, and the price of solar panels saw a precipitous decline over the last four years.
In fact, solar technology has been advancing so rapidly that analysts have had trouble keeping their models up to date. When the Electric Reliability Council of Texas revised the circa-2006 assumptions about the state of technological development in its economic models, it found massive increases in the economic viability of wind and solar power, making them competitive with natural gas within the state over the next twenty years. Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu predicted in 2011 that, along with wind, solar would be no more expensive than oil or natural gas by the end of the decade.
The latest evidence of solar power’s rise comes via Bloomberg: El Paso Electric Co., a southwestern utility, has agreed to purchase electricity from a New Mexico solar project owned by the solar panel manufacturer First Solar, for a price lower than the going rate for coal.
The Macho Springs project is just the latest in over 50 megawatts worth of solar projects First Solar has built in New Mexico since 2011, and the company is slated to install another 21.5 megawatts by late 2013. First Solar even developed the first solar project to reside on public U.S. lands: the 50-megawattSilver State North installation outside of Primm, Nevada, which began generating electricity this past May. And its 250 megawatt installation in Yuma County, Arizona was the largest solar plant operating in the world as of October, 2012.
First Solar is also the largest maker of thin-film solar panels in the world, and its panels — which will be used in constructing the Macho Springs project — boast the smallest carbon footprint and shortest energy payback time of any solar technology currently available.
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New Mexico Utility Agrees To Purchase Solar Power At A Lower Price Than Coal (Original post)
Response to octoberlib (Original post)
Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:52 AM
Warpy (89,625 posts)
1. It's amazing to drive around the central part of the state, it seems
every farmer with a bit of land unsuited to grazing has rented it out for a mini solar farm. They're popping up like mushrooms, all over the place there are lines to carry the power onto the grid.