Case Study:  University of New Mexico, Klauer Campus | Taos, NM

The Taos campus was the first community college in the nation to be 100% powered by renewable solar energy in July 2009.

Design

498kW Single Axis Tracking Photovoltaic System Acreage: 3.5 Utility: Kit Carson Electric Cooperative

Financial

With support from Los Alamos National Laboratory, KCEC was awarded a zero percent federal grant to install several solar generation plants in their service area.

The Project

The 3.5 acre solar array contains 2,640 photovoltaic panels and generates 498 kilowatts of power – more than enough to serve all the power needs of the UNM-Taos campus.  Any additional power goes back into the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC) grid for use by KCEC customers.

The solar panels are mounted on a tracking system that tracks the sun from east to west daily – meaning that they follow the path of the sun, remaining perpendicular to the sun’s location in the sky – to generate maximum solar power.  At the end of the day, the panels reset to the east, awaiting sunrise the next day.  This allows for roughly 20% more power production than a fixed tilt system.

This project came to fruition in a small, isolated, multi-cultural community with no heavy industry to support it, and is a testament to the vision, skill, and resourcefulness of individuals and local and national companies:  in particular, PPC Solar, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, American Capital Energy, and Array Technologies.

Technology

Size: 498kW   Panels: 2,640   Generating: 740,000kWh/year   Type: Single Axis Tracking

Environmental

Offset: 391,000lbs of CO2   Equivalent: Planting 890 Trees

UNM Klauer Campus