Southwest Environmental Center


Project Type: solar photovoltaic (PV) facility
Project Location: SWEC’s rooftop (downtown mall) in Las Cruces, NM
Fuel Source: sun
Project Capacity: 6kW

In 2006, the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC), in collaboration with the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University, received $100,000 in funding from the New Mexico Legislature for the installation of a solar photovoltaic array on the SWEC’s rooftop in the Las Cruces downtown mall. The funding also required development of an educational exhibit at SWEC and the development of public outreach programs related to solar energy. SWEC submitted a proposal for a 6kW solar PV project in response to EPE’s 2006 Diversity Request for Proposals. SWEC’s proposal was selected and EPE entered into a 20-year contract with SWEC.

It is estimated that the SWEC project will eliminate more than 37 pounds of nitrogen oxides (NOx) annually, 25 pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and more than 17,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). In addition, the SWEC project will not use precious water resources.

Photovoltaic systems convert light energy into electricity and are already an important part of our lives. The simplest systems power many of the small calculators and wrist watches we use every day. More complicated systems provide electricity for pumping water, powering communications equipment, and even lighting our homes and running our appliances.