Colorado’s Xcel Energy has said time and again that it supports solar when it makes sense. Apparently a new proposal from SunPower did. Today (May 28) the companies announced an agreement for a 50 megawatt (AC) solar farm that will be built in the San Luis Valley and be fully operational by the end of 2016.
”This expansion of our renewable portfolio in Colorado is yet another example of how Xcel Energy brings solar power to its customers in the right way," said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "We are adding large scale solar that competes with and surpasses other forms of generation alternatives, in terms of price, over the life of the project. This benefits all of our customers—both environmentally and economically."
It’s not the first time SunPower has built a PV farm for Xcel in Colorado. Already the company has a 19-megawatt solar panel farm at the Greater Sandhill plant, which began operating in 2010. It delivered a second, larger 30-megawatt project, the San Luis Valley Solar Ranch in 2011. The company will build the project using its Oasis Power Plant design, a modular system that speeds installation and allows a project to come online in phases.
"We congratulate Xcel Energy for providing leadership in the promotion of large scale solar power development, and for demonstrating how renewable technologies are part of the solution to ensure the health of our economy and our environment," said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions.
SunPower expects to start construction on the 320-acre site in 2015. It’s still waiting for final approvals. During construction SunPower anticipates hiring 100 employees to build the array.
While 50 megawatts is a large PV array it’s far from the world’s largest, like the 579 megawatt Solar Star projects SunPower is developing in California for MidAmerican Energy Holding. It’s not even the largest planned solar project in Colorado. At 120 megawatts the Comanche Solar project being developed by Community Energy Solar Southeast of Pueblo—also anticipated to come online in 2016, is.Tweet