Starting late next year Colorado Springs Utilities will generate enough power from a new solar array for 2,900 to 3,000 homes.
This project will feature a 10-megawatt, single-axis solar array to be built on Clear Spring Ranch, located on about 125 acres south of the city. For context, this project will be approximately twice as large as the Air Force Academy solar array in northern Colorado Springs.
This array will help diversify the community’s energy supply and provides long-term compliance with the 10-percent renewable energy requirement as stated in the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard. It also moves Springs Utilities significantly closer to their own Energy Vision, which requires 20 percent of our total electric energy be produced through renewable sources by 2020.
The recent extension of the Solar Renewable Energy Credits was a determining factor for the approval of this project. This state legislation provides municipal utilities with a three-time multiplier for solar projects that are under contract for development by July 31 and producing energy prior to Dec. 31, 2016. The contract with NEXTera Energy, the solar developer and operator, was finalized last week.
The project, which will provide a long-term renewable energy source for Colorado Springs, is expected to break ground this fall and be producing energy by fall of 2016.