Member co-ops add more solar to their systems

The Hanger 160, a 2-megawatt solar site shown in this photo began producing energy for United Power on Dec. 5.

The Hanger 160, a 2-megawatt solar site shown in this photo began producing energy for United Power on Dec. 5.

This month, two of Tri-State’s member systems are adding significantly to their renewable portfolios with projects that will generate a combined maximum of 3 megawatts of solar power for their member-consumers. United Power’s (Brighton, Colo.) 2-megawatt photovoltaic solar array was brought on line last week and San Miguel Power’s (Nucla, Colo.) 1-megawatt community solar array is slated to begin operation later this month.

The 2-megawatt Hanger 160 project serving United’s consumers is sited in rural Adams County, near the confluence of Highway 7 and Colorado Blvd. This northern Colorado solar site comprises a total of 7,500 solar panels and is said to be the largest electric co-op-served solar field in the state of Colorado.

San Miguel Power’s nearly completed 1-megawatt community solar array is built on a 7-acre parcel in southwestern Colorado’s Paradox Valley, about 15 miles west of Naturita. According to Brad Zaporski, manager of member services for the electric co-op, it is currently the nation’s largest community-owned solar project.

San Miguel’s solar array contains a total of 4,680 solar panels, which will be eligible for purchase by its members at a cost of approximately $700 each.

Community solar projects are gaining in popularity among the association’s co-ops. Besides San Miguel, United Power, Poudre Valley REA (Fort Collins, Colo.), Delta-Montrose Electric (Montrose, Colo.) and Empire Electric (Cortez, Colo.) all have community-owned solar projects on their lines.

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