Each year, the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) recognizes significant advances in solar power in the electric utility industry. SEPA recognizes industry leaders who have demonstrated achievement and innovation in advancing solar power. El Paso Electric (EPE) was one of the top three finalist selected by a panel of expert judges for the Investor-Owned Utility of the Year Award for 2014.
"El Paso Electric was a very strong contender for this award. Not only has El Paso rapidly expanded its solar activities, but by choosing to release pricing information the utility has greatly contributed to a more transparent and robust solar marketplace," said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO.
EPE was recognized by SEPA for doubling its utility-scale solar portfolio in less than one year with large projects in Texas and New Mexico. In 2014, EPE brought online the largest solar facility in New Mexico, Macho Springs. At 50 MW, the Macho Springs solar facility generates enough clean energy to power more than 18,000 homes. An additional 10 MW solar facility, Newman Solar, will be operational by the end of this year and will be the largest in El Paso, Texas. At 10 MW, Newman Solar facility in northeast El Paso will help power more than 3,800 homes. Together, the projects will double the company's total solar generation to 6% of EPE’s dedicated generation resources.
“We continue to look for opportunities to add cost-effective solar energy technologies as the price of solar energy becomes more competitive,” said Tom Shockley, Chief Executive Officer at El Paso Electric. “Our commitment to building a portfolio that includes renewable technologies complements our local, clean burning natural gas units, helping to make overall power in our region more dependable, safer and cleaner.”
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational non-profit organization dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolio. SEPA’s membership is comprised of over 900 electric utilities, solar companies and other companies with an interest in solar electricity. The recipients of the 2014 awards were selected by a panel of expert judges. SEPA is not willing to release information on how many utilities were nominated for this year SEPA Annual awards.