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RPT-UPDATE 1-First Solar, New Mexico utility ink deal

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HOUSTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - PNM, New Mexico's largest electric utility, said on Tuesday it has signed a contract with First Solar Inc FSLR.O to build 22 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power plants in the state.

First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, will construct facilities at five sites within PNM’s service territory.

The plan requires approval by state regulators.

The 22 MW of new solar capacity would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement PNM reached with state environmental, renewable energy and governmental organizations two weeks ago.

The specifics of that plan, to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Jan. 25, call for a total of 45 MW of utility-scale solar PV to be added to PNMs system in the 2010 to 2011 timeframe.

First Solar expects to complete construction by late 2011. PNM said 22 MW could supply about 7,000 typical homes.

Albuquerque, New Mexico-based PNM, a subsidiary of energy holding company PNM Resources Inc PNM.N, .

Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by David Gregorio