Local Co-op Utilizes Renewable Power Resource

On Friday, January 24, 2014 Otero County Electric Cooperative (OCEC) celebrated its first Solar Garden owned and operated by OCEC.  Ribbon cutting ceremonies were held at the Alamogordo Substation Solar Garden located adjacent to its Alamogordo Substation and just west of the Charlie T. Lee Memorial Relief Route (Hwy 54/70 bypass).  The 76 kW project will provide renewable energy for our members and valuable experience to OCEC employees.  

The solar garden consists of 253 panels, 300 watts per panel totaling 75.9 kW.  This project was funded by the 1% Energy Efficiency charge that is placed on our members’ bill and costs the cooperative close to $250,000.  The panels utilize a Micro-Inverter Technology with one micro-inverter per panel.  This type of system is more efficient than traditional string-inverter based systems and allows the owner to monitor performance of individual photovoltaic modules.  The solar panels are separated into 23 individually metered systems which consist of 3.3 kW residential sized systems. Each of these systems has a dedicated login for remote monitoring via the web to provide remote monitoring of panel status, output, and production of energy at each metered system.  OCEC is allowing our members to monitor one set of the panels equal to 3.3 kW by logging onto our website and following the link provided. 

Projections for the first years production of energy through the solar panel garden is estimated at producing 142,854 kWh with an expected reduction of 0.7% per year due to natural degradation of the photovoltaic panels.

The project, which provides enough energy to serve the equivalent of approximately 23 homes, diversifies OCEC’s mix of power used in our energy portfolio and assists OCEC in addressing carbon emissions and helps meet its renewable energy requirements.

OCEC is currently in the process of adding an additional 75kW to this site. A contractor has been selected for the upgrade and plans are being finalized on adding panels to the solar garden. OCEC hopes to develop a program for member participation in this and/or other similar projects in the future.

Following is a link to monitor 1 of 23 identical units at the Solar Garden.