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Aztec, New Mexico, Pursuing Solar PV Plus Energy Storage Project

The City of Aztec, New Mexico, a public power community, is pursuing the development of a solar PV plus energy storage project to meet its entire daytime power needs. The city is working with the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology on the project.

The City of Aztec is using the opportunities created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to install a 2-megawatt solar PV plus 4-megawatthour battery energy storage system project, an Aug. 1 news release noted.

Aztec selected ICAST to help it design and implement the project and help it access the BIL and IRA funds, monetize the investment tax credits, and access low-cost financing.

Aztec is located in San Juan County, New Mexico, in the 4-corners region that has been heavily impacted due to the closure of a coal mine and a large coal-fired power plant, the news release said.

The project will reduce energy costs for Aztec's 6,000-plus residents, decarbonize energy usage, “provide high-quality, sustainable jobs for the operation and maintenance of the project after the temporary construction jobs, and, help the City of Aztec achieve some level of energy resiliency," the news release said.

"With all the new federal funds coming out, we have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the clean energy transition. We're looking forward to this project increasing energy reliability and resiliency and reducing energy burdens for our residents,” said Denver DeWees, Director for the City of Aztec, Electric Department, in a statement.

“We have an existing 1-MW solar facility that was installed in 2016, and there has been hopes to expand due to the success of that facility,” DeWees told Public Power Current.

With Energy Tax Credits and the Federal grant money available, “this is an opportune time to pull the trigger on this project. Adding battery storage adds to our resiliency and gives us a dispatchable energy resource,” he said.

DeWees was asked to comment on what advice he would give to smaller public power communities that are considering applying for funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act.

“It is very difficult to navigate and time consuming. I found it necessary due to internal bandwidth to seek out help. ICAST is a great fit for us, and I am looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table,” he said.

The solar PV plus storage project is expected to be operational in just over two years, DeWees said.