Origis’ 200MW New Mexico PV plant under construction, PPA in place with Tri-State utility

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Origis Energy’s Tanglewood solar project in the US state of Georgia. Credit: Origis Energy

Origis Energy is building a 200MW PV project in New Mexico on the site of a decommissioned 253MW coal plant. A power purchase agreement (PPA) is in place with the western US non-profit electricity supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission.

The Escalante Solar project near Grants, New Mexico began construction yesterday (30th August), and upon its completion in 2024 will deploy around 500,000 solar modules. In April 2022, Origis signed a 750MW supply deal with US cadmium telluride (CadTel) thin-film module manufacturer First Solar for delivery of modules from 2024. The deal was later expanded by another 2GW.

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Albuquerque-based contractor Gridworks is constructing the project, whereupon Origis Energy Services will manage operations & maintenance (O&M).

Origis bought the development rights for the project from fellow solar developer TurningPoint Energy in 2020, the same year that Tri-State closed the Escalante Station coal plant and signed a deal with German developer Juwi for 400MW of solar PV in Colorado. 2020 also saw the publication of Tri-State’s Responsible Energy Plan.

“It’s meaningful that the first solar project to start construction as part of the Responsible Energy Plan we announced in 2020 will be built alongside our retired coal plant,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State’s CEO. “We continue to reinvest in the local community and advance our goal of having 50% of the energy used by our members coming from renewable resources in 2025.”

Tri-State is a non-profit energy cooperative utility which supplies power to its 45 members across four states in the rural western US.

“It is gratifying to finally deliver on the commitment of this project we made to Tri-State and its members back in 2020,” said Jared Schoch, president of TurningPoint Energy. “CohnReznick Capital helped engage us with Origis and we ultimately partnered with Origis on this project because they are uniquely qualified to deliver on utility-scale solar projects in today’s business environment.”

Earlier this month, Origis Energy established a US$750 million funding facility to develop 2GW of utility-scale solar and battery storage across the US.

Through the project PPA with Tri-State, the Escalante project will supply the Continental Divide Electric Cooperative – in whose territory it is located – and up to ten of Tri-State’s other utility customers in New Mexico.

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