NTEC, Photosol US propose solar array at Navajo Mine on reclaimed land

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Navajo Transitional Energy Company and Photosol US have submitted a proposal to place a 200-megawatt solar array on reclaimed land at Navajo Mine.

The proposal was sent to Salt River Project, the Phoenix-based utility company that opened a request for proposals this year to bring large scale solar projects to the Navajo Nation.

Such projects would help SRP in its transition to supply utility customers in central Arizona with energy generated by renewable energy and natural gas sources rather than energy produced by coal-fired power plants.

SRP announced in January that it wanted 400 megawatts of solar energy to come from solar power plants on the tribe's land. Among the qualifications were power plants that produce a minimum of 100 megawatts and a maximum of 200 megawatts.

NTEC is an enterprise of the Navajo Nation and announced on June 17 the partnership with Photosol US, a subsidiary of an independent photovoltaic energy producer in France.

An employee at Navajo Mine checks a sprinkler system on Aug. 1, 2019 in a recently seeded part of the mine.

The U.S. branch is headquartered in Lehi, Utah, and has 382-megawatt peak in solar power plants in operation and construction, according to its website.

In May, Photosol proposed to build a 372-megawatt solar array north of the San Juan Generating Station.

The project with NTEC would be located within the boundaries permitted to the enterprise and in an area south of the Four Corners Power Plant. SRP has a 10% share in the Four Corners, which receives coal from Navajo Mine.

The proposal by NTEC and Photosol was sent to SRP on June 15, according to NTEC.

A recently seeded area at Navajo Mine is pictured Aug. 1, 2019. The Four Corners Power Plant is in the background.

If accepted, the project could generate up to $20 million in tax revenue for the Navajo Nation over 40 years, the June 17 press release by NTEC states.

"Including solar and other renewable energy sources in NTEC's portfolio has always been part of our vision for NTEC and the nation. We are excited for the opportunity to transition the reclaimed land at Navajo Mine to the production of renewable energy that has the potential to provide long-term revenues for the nation," Timothy McLaughlin, NTEC board chairman, said in the release.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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