Solar Power Systems at El Paso Electric's Power Plants

Rio Grande Solar
El Paso Electric has added solar power to its Newman and Rio Grande power plants. The photovoltaic systems are expected to generate 260,000 kWh per year. That’s enough renewable energy to power almost 40 homes. 
The photovoltaic systems at the Newman and Rio Grande power plants consist of 360 solar photovoltaic modules each weighing about 38 pounds. When sunlight hits the solar photovoltaic panels, they convert the energy from the sunlight directly into electricity. The solar electricity is then converted to a utility type of electricity via an inverter. The electricity is then metered by the utility and sent directly to the utility’s electric grid for use by the customer.

Details on the Solar Photovoltaic Electric Systems at El Paso Electric’s Newman and Rio Grande Power Plants

  • Number of modules: 360 per system (total 720 modules)
  • Module dimensions (each):
    • Width 3’3”
    • Length 4’10”
    • Depth 1.87”
  • Module weight: 38 lbs (each)
  • Module manufacturer: Schuco USA, LP
  • Systems’ contractor: solar Smart Living, LLC
  • Expected generation: approximately 260,000 kWh per year (130,000 kWh per system)
  • Energy generated by the systems can power about 40 homes assuming a typical home uses 550 kWh of electricity per month

How Solar Photovoltaic Systems Work

  1. Sunlight hits the solar photovoltaic arrays
  2. Solar photovoltaic arrays convert energy from sunlight or solar energy directly into electricity or electrical energy by the photovoltaic effect or the transfer of electrons from one material to another
  3. The solar electricity (DC) is then converted to a utility type of electricity (AC) via an inverter
  4. The electricity is then metered by the utility and sent directly to the utility’s electric grid for use by the customer