Ted Turner, media mogul founder of CNN, announced recently that his jointly-owned, 30-megawatt solar farm in New Mexico began commercial service.
Built on more than 364 acres next to Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch in New Mexico, presumably on private land since the project faced no environmental-review hurdles, the Cimarron Solar Project will feed power to Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a non-profit wholesale power dealer, and its 44 member electric cooperatives.
“We are very excited to see this project completed and producing clean solar energy to power homes and businesses in New Mexico,” Turner said. “Large-scale solar generation is among the fastest-growing energy sources in the world, and we’re pleased that we can be a part of that growth.”
The facility is expected to deliver enough electricity to satisfy the needs of about 9,000 homes.
First announced at the climate summit in Cancun, the project – a joint venture between Turner (wearing his hat as Turner Renewable Energy) and Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest publicly owned power companies – was developed and built by First Solar, which also supplied 500,000 cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar panels for the plant.
Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar, the largest thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer in the U.S, is also one of the nation’s most successful, having been the first to break the $1-per-watt manufacturing barrier. The installation will be maintained by First Solar, and the power sold under a 25-year power purchase agreement, or PPA.
It’s good to know that, in an era of Republican dominance, where the House is pushing such renewable energy-stunting measures as the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, the private sector can still get the heavy lifting done.
Way to go, Ted Turner. Keep the clean tech wheels turning. Certainly no one else seems able.