Two New Mexican high schools will soon be running on solar power thanks to German PV group Conergy, which is installing two PV plants at the school campuses totaling 1.2 MW.
The Hamburg-based Conergy is serving as general contractor for the project and is overseeing the planning and engineering as well as construction of the plant as well as supplying components.
The two public schools will self-consume the generated electricity via a 20-year power purchase agreement with natural gas and electricity giant Washington Gas Energy Systems (WGES), which will own and operate the plants.
The more than 8,200 solar modules installed on 4.7 kilometers of Conergy SolarLinea mounting systems will produce around 4.3 GWh of solar power annually, which is roughly the same amount of energy used by 43,000 laptops running eight hours a day for a year.
"We are very proud that our two high schools will be supplied with renewable power and that we will be making a valuable contribution to sustainability in our community," said Al Sena, head of building management at the Rio Rancho public schools. "This will allow our students to experience the benefits of clean power generation first hand. With the solar installations, we cover about 80% of our total annual power requirements while cutting our electricity costs at the same time — without major upfront investment."
When completed, the installations are expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions equal to recycling approximately 1,140 tons of waste instead of sending it to a landfill, or taking 632 passenger cars off the road for one year.
Conergy is developing customized system solutions for diverse markets. In the U.S., they are based on power purchase agreements while in Italy they take into account net metering. Conergy has also realized numerous grid parity projects in Spain without any feed-in tariffs in addition to plants in South Africa and Australia.