By Scott Manning
In 2018 the City of Rio Rancho entered into a power purchase agreement with Affordable Solar, an Albuquerque firm, to use electricity generated from the large solar electric farm located in Corrales’ Far Northwest Sector to partially power the nearby Wastewater Treatment Plant #2. Through the agreement, Rio Rancho purchases about two megawatts of electricity from the solar farm at a reduced rate and uses this electricity to cover about 20 percent of the power needs at the sewage treatment plant.
According to Annemarie Garcia, the Public Affairs Division Manager with the City of Rio Rancho, the City entered into the agreement because the project fits with the City’s goal of developing efficient public infrastructure to meet the current and future needs of its residents. The City says the power purchase agreement has been successful and that it would consider similar agreements in the future. The City does not intend to build on this specific agreement, however, because there are no plans to expand the electricity generation capacity of the solar farm.
Affordable Solar funded, built and continues to operate and own the solar array in the Far Northwest Sector on the Corrales-Rio Rancho boundary. The solar farm contains 4,230 photovoltaic panels that stretch over about 10 acres along Don Julio Road. The solar project is related to another by the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority (SSCAFCA) which will construct a drainage channel from the Rio Rancho Industrial Park down to the Montoyas Arroyo The proposed new stormwater channel runs through the solar farm area.