World’s Largest Solar Farm Taking Root in New Mexico Desert

Two start-up companies backed by venture capital are teaming up with the state of New Mexico to build the world’s largest solar power farm on 3,200 acres of mostly public land near the Mexican border. The proposed facility would be 60 times larger than the world’s biggest currently operating solar farm in Germany’s Bavaria region.

The two Phoenix, Arizona-based start-ups, New Solar Ventures and Solar Torx, are operating the endeavor as a joint venture. New Solar Ventures is spearheading the technical build-out of the solar farm, which includes the construction of an on-site factory to produce thousands of 10-foot by 5-foot solar panels. Meanwhile, Solar Torx is in charge of raising the $1.5 billion or so needed to get the project up and running.

Meanwhile, the state of New Mexico is doing its part by providing a sweetheart deal on the leasing of 640 state-owned acres in the desert near the town of Deming for the project. The state expects to lease more land to the endeavor at favorable rates as the facility grows.

Company representatives, state officials, and environmentalists alike are optimistic that the venture can generate as much as 300 megawatts of energy—enough to power about 240,000 homes—within five years, as long as funding is in place.