Two member solar projects in the works

A 2-megawatt solar array now under construction in northern Adams County, Colo., is scheduled to begin supplying renewable energy to United Power by the first week of December.

Two of Tri-State’s member systems, United Power (Brighton, Colo.) and San Miguel Power Association (Nucla, Colo.), have construction underway this fall on solar facilities that will add a combined three megawatts of capacity to their renewable resource portfolios.

United Power has contracted to purchase all of the output from a 2-megawatt photovoltaic solar array that is now under construction in rural northern Adams County near the confluence of Highway 7 and Colorado Blvd.

In southwestern Colorado, San Miguel Power has partnered with the Clean Energy Collective of Carbondale, Colo., to build the nation’s largest community-owned solar project on seven acres in the Paradox Valley, about 15 miles west of Naturita.

Construction on the United solar project began at the beginning of this month and is on track for completion by the first week of December, according to Jerry Marizza, new energy program coordinator for the co-op. The facility, referred to as the Hangar 160 project, will entail a total of 7,500 panels and, upon completion, will be the largest electric co-op-served solar field in the state of Colorado.

United Power has been at the forefront of providing its members with renewable resource options and was one of the nation’s first electric cooperatives to develop a community solar garden, which is located adjacent to its headquarters in Brighton.

The SMPA Community Solar Farm is sited on seven acres in the northeast corner of Paradox Valley along U.S. Highway 90, approximately 15 miles west of Naturita, Colo.

San Miguel Power’s 1-megawatt community solar project initially broke ground last summer, but construction was halted for several months due to permitting issues that are now resolved. “Construction is now back in full swing and we expect completion of the project in November,” said Brad Zaporski, manager of member services for San Miguel Power.

The member-owned solar array will contain 4,680 solar panels, translating to enough energy to power approximately 180 homes. Members of the co-op will be eligible to purchase the 235-watt solar panels for $705 each. The solar array will be operated and maintained by the Clean Energy Collective, which has completed several other solar projects for Tri-State member systems.

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