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Taos to gain more renewable energy

SANTA FE — Taos’ electric cooperative has announced it will build its largest solar array yet, to provide power for about 1,500 area homes.

In a news release, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and its provider Guzman Energy Partners say Taos town officials signed a land-lease agreement along with a 30-year solar power purchase agreement for a four-megawatt solar power array at The Taos Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Earlier this year, the Town Council approved a one-megawatt solar array at a cost to the town of about $2 million.

A new project, with a groundbreaking scheduled for February, will expand the array to provide an additional three megawatts, costing about $5 million, paid for by Kit Carson and Guzman, according to the co-op’s CEO Luis Reyes.

The upcoming project is part of Kit Carson’s goal of covering customers in its service areas in Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties with 100 percent “daytime solar generation” by 2022, through eventual development of about 35 megawatts of solar power.

The four megawatts from the treatment plant array will serve Taos’ largest electrical substation covering most of the town and surrounding neighborhoods. “Taos is our largest load center,” said Reyes. “The array will easily absorb the load in that area.”

Last summer, Kit Carson joined a 10-year agreement with Guzman, a Florida-based company with a Denver office, to provide more renewable energy. With the plans at the treatment plant and two arrays under way at Angel Fire and Eagle Nest substations, Reyes hopes to have seven additional megawatts of solar power by mid-2018, adding to nine currently.

The news release from Guzman said having 100 percent daytime renewable energy will save 30,000 co-op members between $50 and $70 million through lower rates in the next 10 years.