Colorado Springs Utilities, NextEra dedicate solar power project

NextEra

Officials from Colorado Springs Utilities and NextEra Energy Resources joined local community leaders to celebrate the commissioning of the Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array south of Colorado Springs.

"This project helps Colorado Springs Utilities meet its renewable energy commitments and diversify its energy production portfolio, while enjoying the economic advantages of solar power," said Matt Handel, vice president of Development for NextEra Energy Resources. "Gov. Hickenlooper and the state Legislature deserve a lot of credit for creating a supportive environment and policies for the cost-effective deployment of renewable resources."

The 10 MW single-axis array features about 42,000 solar panels capable of powering about 3,000 average homes. A unit of NextEra Energy Resources developed and built the ground-mounted solar array and will own, operate and maintain it over the term of a 25-year agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities. Colorado Springs Utilities will continue to own the Clear Spring Ranch land.

"This is a very exciting project for us in that it is our first utility-scale solar array. All of our customers will benefit from this clean, renewable energy generated right here in the Pikes Peak region," said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte. "This array also moves us significantly closer to achieving our Energy Vision, which requires 20 percent of our total electric energy be produced through renewable sources by 2020."

Throughout the term of the agreement, the array is expected to generate enough solar energy to offset more than 18,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been produced if the electricity had been generated using fossil fuels.

The Clear Spring Ranch project created about 100 jobs during the construction phase, and is expected to generate about $1 million in property taxes over its life.

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