Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) has finalized an agreement with Torch Clean Energy (Torch) to purchase and develop two new solar array and storage facilities for a total of 21MW of additional solar capacity and 15MW of storage capacity. With the completion of these installations, KCEC will surpass the 35 megawatts required to meet its goal of 100 percent daytime solar energy – originally set for the year 2022 – up to nine months earlier than anticipated.

These new developments build upon the arrays that KCEC has installed over the past 12 years, creating a network of distributed energy resources throughout the KCEC service territory. Once complete, KCEC with have a total of 53MW of renewable energy, including 38MW of solar and 15MW of storage capacity.

Earlier this year, KCEC along with its partner Guzman Energy, issued a request for proposals for solar capacity and asked developers to propose projects that include both solar and storage. Torch proposed solar and storage capacity at two different facilities within the KCEC territory – Angel Fire and Taos Mesa Energy Facilities – that will exceed the capacity requested. The Angel Fire Energy Facility will deliver 6MW of solar and 3MW of storage capacity, while the Taos Mesa Energy Facility will deliver 15MW of solar and 12MW of storage capacity.

In addition to meeting KCEC’s daytime energy needs with solar energy, this development marks the first implementation of storage in the Kit Carson territory.

“Kit Carson aims to be the greenest co-op in the country. The addition of these two new solar arrays gives us almost twenty solar projects within our territory, making Taos and the surrounding areas the ‘Solar Capital of the World,’” said Luis Reyes Jr., CEO of KCEC. “The addition of storage is key in helping us provide reliable energy with added cost benefits to our members, and we are looking forward to completing these developments with Torch Clean Energy.”

“Solar coupled with energy storage will be one central pillar of our energy system moving forward and Torch is excited to partner with Kit Carson on these two projects to achieve that future,” said Scott Leach, Senior Vice President of Torch. “We look forward to working with the communities in Taos County and the Village of Angel Fire to bring these cost-effective projects through development and into construction.”

Guzman began serving power to KCEC in July 2016, helping expand the co-op’s renewable energy capacity as well as decreasing energy costs for its members. Since then with Guzman’s support, KCEC completed the first phase of solar installations in Eagle Nest, Picuris Pueblo in Penasco and Tres Piedras, NM, and is well underway with construction of the second phase of installations in Sunshine (north of Questa), on the Northern New Mexico College campus in El Rito, and at the Taos Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Taos, giving KCEC a total of 17MW of solar on its system. This partnership has not only helped to expand the solar capacity for KCEC with expected cost savings of $70 million, but the co-op is now able to select energy sources that provide the best cost and environmental benefits to the communities it serves.

“It’s an exciting time for Kit Carson, and for all local energy co-ops around the country that are setting ambitious goals and realizing the benefits of renewable energy capacity for the communities they serve,” said Christopher Miller, chief operating officer, Guzman Energy. “The energy transition is being led by concerned citizens, community leaders and local co-operatives that see better opportunity through clean, more affordable power.”