Xcel Energy is launching its Solar Schools program to provide area students with a firsthand look at how solar energy works as they integrate their studies with new, community-based solar projects planned in four eastern and southeastern New Mexico cities.
The first community-based solar installation was put in place last summer on the roof of Xcel Energy’s service center in Hobbs. This week students at Highland Junior High School in Hobbs will begin to monitor the output of this generating station while learning how solar power is integrated into Xcel Energy’s power grid.
Three other projects will be launched in other New Mexico communities served by Xcel Energy, and the company hopes to have these installations ready in the spring of 2010. The company is still negotiating deals in these other communities and has not yet named the exact locations.
The school program is part of the New Mexico Community Solar Project, and is funded by Xcel Energy as a way to build interest in solar power – one of the state’s most promising new industries.
“New Mexico has some of the best solar resources in the nation,” said Mike McLeod, regional manager for community and economic development in Roswell. “Yet the general public still knows very little about solar technology and how it can benefit our economy. These installations will provide valuable information to Xcel Energy and our communities. By including students in the program, we’re educating young men and women on the benefits of clean, renewable solar power.”