Duke Energy begins construction on 25 MW New Mexico solar plant

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Renewables-friendly utility Duke Energy is set to augment its U.S. solar portfolio by a further 25 MW having begun construction on a large-scale PV plant near Tucumcari, in New Mexico’s Quay County.

The 25 MW solar project has been acquired by clean energy producer Infigen Energy, and Duke Energy has already secured a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC).

Swinerton Renewable Energy is the EPC contracted to build the solar farm, which will comprise 103,000 solar panels supplied by China’s JinkoSolar. Once complete, it is estimated that the solar farm will meet the clean power needs of 5,000 local households.

"The cost of installing solar has dramatically decreased in the past few year, and is much closer to competing with more traditional forms of generation," said WFEC VP of legal and corporate services Brian Hobbs. "We felt that the timing was right to introduce solar into our generation mix."

Duke Energy now has more than 2.6 GW of wind and solar capacity under its belt following more than $4 billion in clean energy investment. The utility plans to plow a further $3 billion into the sector over the next five years.

Earlier this year JinkoSolar signed two module supply deals with Spain’s Gransolar, which is developing 24.5 MW of solar PV in New Mexico. The state is the 11th largest in the U.S. in terms of installed PV capacity, according to GTM Research data, with the utility-scale sector dominant.