Second solar farm moves forward - Albuquerque Journal

Second solar farm moves forward

BERNALILLO – Sandoval County is moving forward with allowing a second solar farm along Encino Road.

The commission unanimously approved a resolution Thursday to consider an industrial revenue bond that would go toward the Encino North solar farm, more than two years after the existing Encino solar site entered the picture.

“(Additional renewable energy’s) a goal in and of itself, but also an increased tax revenue in the form of PILT payments to the county,” County Manager Wayne Johnson told the Observer. “Right now, you have basically agricultural land with a very low tax assessment rate … This is a great way to bring in revenue to the county.”

PILT refers to payment in lieu of taxes, whereby a company agrees to a payment to a governmental entity instead of paying taxes.

Rob Burpo, president of First American Financial Advisors, told the board the Encino North site will be 494 acres with an estimated cost of $50 million and that Public Service Company of New Mexico utility will be the initial purchaser under a power purchase agreement.

Burpo also told the board solar farms are designed to generate lower consumer rates.

The commission previously approved an industrial revenue bond worth up to $70 million in 2019 to finance construction of the first facility. The existing solar farm, about 9.3 miles northwest of Unser Boulevard and Paseo del Volcan, generates a $100,000 PILT each year. The Encino North site will be just north of the existing site.

Johnson told the Observer the county can officially launch negotiations on the IRB terms for the Encino North Solar Farm.

He also said it’s possible the new farm can bring 150-200 new construction jobs in the process.

“The way IRBs work is that the property during the term of the IRB is actually owned by the county, which is where the tax abatement comes from, which is why you negotiate the PILTs,” Johnson said. “That’s significant money over time, but it allows these projects to work over time.”

The Encino North solar farm would be developed by New Mexico Renewable Development, a venture between PNM and American Electric Power. The project will feature up to 50 megawatts of generating capacity.

“The county’s goal is relatively simple in this case: We now have higher revenue than we ever would’ve gotten from the land had it not been developed for any other purpose,” Johnson said.

The amount of revenue from the new project is still to be determined.

Sandoval County will get about two-thirds of the PILT from the new solar farm. About 33% of PILT funding for the new project will go to five area school districts: Rio Rancho Public Schools, Bernalillo Public Schools, Jemez Valley Public Schools, Cuba Independent Schools and Albuquerque Public Schools (because of places like Corrales Elementary School, Burpo noted).

Johnson told the Observer there was a change in the law pertaining to PILT distributions during the last legislative session to require that money be divided equally among those school districts. Johnson said that prior to the change, only Jemez Valley Public Schools benefited from the 2019 solar farm project.

Construction for the Encino North solar farm project is expected to commence in spring 2022, with power production getting underway in June 2023.

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


One-on-One: Engineering firm CEO's past trauma helps him lead
ABQnews Seeker
Army veteran helps other find healing ... Army veteran helps other find healing at the Grand Canyon
New Mexico firm's gaming universe inspires thousands
ABQnews Seeker
Ganymede Games' "Xenotheria" appeals to grown-up ... Ganymede Games' "Xenotheria" appeals to grown-up gamers' nostalgia.
J. Crew bids adieu to Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
J. Crew first opened its doors ... J. Crew first opened its doors for New Mexicans in 2012, according to earlier reporting, and specialized in men's and women's fashion.
As AI progresses, keep humanity, humility in mind
ABQnews Seeker
When my business partner and I ... When my business partner and I launched our company in the mid-1990s, we debated whether to install ...
NM tech firms awarded state matching grants
ABQnews Seeker
The NM SBIR grants are designed ... The NM SBIR grants are designed to support local science and technology companies in achieving their commercialization goals, according to a news release from ...
New ABQ lifestyle shop aims to offer Old Town ...
ABQnews Seeker
Retailer focuses on providing customers with ... Retailer focuses on providing customers with items ranging from small-batch printed cards to jewelry to beauty products made with New Mexican ingredients
College athlete deals risk tax-free scholarships
ABQnews Seeker
The college football bowl season is ... The college football bowl season is over.
Albuquerque restaurant inspections for Jan. 31, 2022
ABQnews Seeker
Crepes and Waffles, 3211 Coors SW ... Crepes and Waffles, 3211 Coors SW (Jan. 14)
Briefcase: Wealth management firm hires Santa Fe vice president
Robert H. Hoffman has joined Morgan ... Robert H. Hoffman has joined Morgan Stanley Wealth Management's Santa Fe Office as vice president and financial advisor.