Origis Energy commissions 200MW New Mexico PV plant with Tri-state PPA

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The escalante solar project in New Mexico
Escalante Solar plant near Grants, New Mexico. Image: Origis Energy

US renewables developer Origis Energy has commissioned the 200MW Escalante solar project in New Mexico alongside non-for-profit electricity utility Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

The project was built on the site of the now-decommissioned 253MW Escalante Station coal-fired power plant. Tri-State has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Origis Energy for the Escalante project’s output which will see it provide power to its customers and 11 electric cooperative members in New Mexico.

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US tracker producer Array Technologies provided the project’s trackers, and Gridworks handled construction. Both companies are headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Escalante site will likely deploy solar modules from US-based cadmium telluride thin-film solar manufacturer First Solar following the signature of a 750MW supply deal in 2022 due to extend through 2024. The two companies expanded their supply deal in 2023 with a further 2GW for delivery in 2026-27.

Construction for the project began in August 2023, whereupon the PPA with Tri-State was also signed.  

“Escalante Solar helps all our members get to 50% clean energy used in 2025, while meeting the requirements of New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act five years ahead of schedule,” said Duane Highley, CEO of Tri-State.

Based in Colorado, Tri-State provides electricity to 41 utilities across the rural western US in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nebraska. In 2020, the company inked a deal to develop 400MW of Colorado solar PV capacity with German developer Juwi.

Last month, Origis secured a US$300 million corporate financing investment from KKR to build out its US solar PV and energy storage pipeline. At the time of the investment, the company had roughly 13GW of assets in its development pipeline.

The following week, Origis commissioned a 150MW solar-plus-storage project in Mississippi. The Golden Triangle II site is part of a three-project fleet alongside Golden Triangle I and the Optimist project, each with 200MW of solar PV generation and 50MW of energy storage capacity. This site has a PPA in place with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) utility.  

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