PREWITT, NM – On November 9 Origis Energy and Tri-State held an event in Prewitt to celebrate the halfway point in the construction of the Escalante Solar Project. The 11 cooperatives that are a part of Tri-State were present for the celebration and signed two commemorative solar panels.
The event included a presentation by members of Tri-State, Origis, and Gridworks. Some of the guests that were recognized at the presentation for their work with the solar project, State Representative Patty Lundstrom, Village of Milan Mayor Felix Gonzales, State Representative Harry Garcia, Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Eileen Yarborough, and many representatives for various government officials. CEO of Origis Energy Guy Vanderhaegen said that he is proud that Origis Energy can be a part of the Escalante Solar Project and be involved in bringing 200 megawatts of power to the Tri-State area and local communities. The CEO of Tri-State Duane Highley also spoke about the project, he said that by 2025 they will be putting out 600 megawatts of power, and with that Tri-State will be a 50 percent clean energy provider to their members by 2025. The solar energy will be the lowest cost resource on the Tri-State system when it comes online. The tax revenue from the project will provide $7.1 million to McKinley County and $2.4 million to the McKinley County School District. Highley ended off by saying, “Of course we have great dreams of what could happen with repowering of the plant and there’s considerations of hydrogen production that could happen here in the future. It’s being actively explored.”
Following the presentation individuals were invited to take a small tour and see some of the solar panels up close and to learn more about the inner workings of the solar farm and how energy is produced. The project is said to be completed by March 31, 2024, but during the presentation it was also said to be early April 2024. The total area of the project is 1,700 acres which broken down is the size of 1,300 football fields. The total amount of solar panels in the area will be 500,000 which is enough to provide electricity to roughly 40,000 homes.