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Glossary of Terms

Floating Solar Panels
What is Community Solar?
Any solar project (or purchasing program) in which the benefits flow to multiple customers within a certain geographic area.

What is Utility Scale Solar?
Any solar project in which the generated electricity is sold the wholesale utility buyer, (not a designated end use consumer) and is of 10 MW size or larger. The AES Rancho Viejo Solar Facility is Utility-Scale solar facility. 
Solar Panel

A solar panel is a device that converts light from the sun into electricity. It is made up of photovoltaic cells that use the photovoltaic effect to generate a flow of electrons and produce direct current (DC) electricity. Solar panels can be used to power homes, buildings, and other devices by converting sunlight into usable electricity.

Solar Panels
Solar Panels
What is a Utility Scale Solar Plant? 

It is a large scale, grid connected power plant.   They are different from most building-mounted or community solar arrays because they supply power at the utility level, rather than to a local user or users.  The AES Rancho Viejo Solar Plant will be a Utility Scale Solar Power Plant.  

What is a Substation?

To connect a solar PV plant to distribution or transmission networks, it is necessary to step-up the voltage level from medium to high voltage. The purpose of a substation is to convert low voltages from electricity generated to high voltages, or vice versa, using power transformers.  The AES Rancho Viejo Solar Plant includes proposed construction of a substation.  

Image by Vandan Patel
What Are Electrical Transmission Lines?

Transmission lines carry electric energy from one point to another in an electric power system. This current can be carried by either overhead or underground lines. The main characteristics that distinguish transmission lines from distribution lines are that they are operated at relatively high voltages, they transmit large quantities of power and they transmit the power over large distances.  The AES Rancho Viejo Solar Plant will include a newly constructed High Voltage (115 kV) Overhead power line. 

Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage System

A Lithium-Ion Battery Energy Storage System (Li-BESS) is a type of energy storage system that uses lithium-ion batteries as the primary storage medium. The system is designed to store excess electricity generated from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, for later use when the demand for electricity is high. 

What is a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Array? 

It is multiple solar panels electrically wired together to form a much larger PV installation (array).  Each PV solar panel is made up of individual photovoltaic cells connected together.  The AES Rancho Viejo Solar Plant will be a Solar PV array.

What is a Brownfield Site?

A brownfield site is a previously developed piece of land that is not currently in use. It may be affected by contamination, but this is not required for a site to be considered brownfield. The term is also used to describe land previously used for industrial or commercial purposes with known or suspected pollution including possible soil contamination due to hazardous waste.


Support New Mexico in transitioning to clean energy, while avoiding unnecessary risks to our communities and further destruction to our environment.  

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