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.

Home » Business » Second solar farm moves forward

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

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

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
We want to know what you think about business ...
Your feedback will help us provide ... Your feedback will help us provide what you most want to see in the Albuquerque Journal.
State safety workers are investigating an 'incident' involving the ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Environment Department's Occupational Health and ... The Environment Department's Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is investigating an incident involving a crane at Intel's Rio Rancho plant. 
U.S.-Mexico's strained relationship in need of a reset
ABQnews Seeker
The U.S.-Mexico relationship needs a reset. ... The U.S.-Mexico relationship needs a reset. Relations were already strained when then-presidential c ...
Albuquerque junk removal company expands into pressure washing
ABQnews Seeker
A year after quitting their desk ... A year after quitting their desk jobs to start a junk removal company, Nathan Farmer and Brian Battaglia have added pressure washing to the ...
Many electric vehicles to lose big tax credit with ...
Most Recent Biz News
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer new electric ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fewer new electric vehicles will qualify for a full $7,500 federal tax credit later this year, and many will get only ...
Italy temporarily blocks ChatGPT over privacy concerns
ROME (AP) -- Italy is temporarily ... ROME (AP) -- Italy is temporarily blocking the artificial intelligence software ChatGPT in the wake of a data breach as it investigates a possible ...
Albuquerque-area economy listed as 'stagnant' in latest Brookings Metro ...
ABQnews Seeker
While the Albuquerque metro area remained ... While the Albuquerque metro area remained in the "stagnant" category, it wasn't alone — 51 other metro areas joined them on that list.
EPA approves California rules phasing out diesel trucks
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Biden ... SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Biden administration cleared the way Friday for California's plan to phase out a wide range of diesel-powered trucks, part ...
Stocks rally to cap a winning month, quarter for ...
Most Recent Biz News
NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rallied ... NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rallied Friday to close out a winning March and first quarter of the year, feats that looked questionable just ...