United Power shows off Colorado’s largest co-op-sponsored solar site

Left to right: United Power CEO Ron Asche, Jerry Marizza, also with United, Everod and Claudia Samuel of Samuel Engineering, and United Power’s director of external affairs Troy Whitmore.

Left to right: United Power CEO Ron Asche, Jerry Marizza, also with United, Everod and Claudia Samuel of Samuel Engineering, and United Power’s director of external affairs Troy Whitmore.

Tri-State member system United Power (Brighton, Colo.) hosted an open house at its 2.28-megawatt Hanger 160 Solar Project yesterday (July 22) in rural Adams County, about 20 miles north of Denver.

Although the 10-acre, photovoltaic (PV) solar array has been generating renewable energy for the co-op’s 70,000 member-consumers for more than three months, this was the first opportunity for the co-op’s staff to invite its members, directors and other local officials to have a first-hand look at what is being called the largest PV solar system in Colorado that is directly tied to a distribution network.

United’s staff provided visitors with breakfast and guided tours during the morning event.

“The Hanger 160 Solar Project is a great example of one of the ways that we are demonstrating renewable and other alternative energy solutions to our membership,” said Troy Whitmore, director of external affairs for the co-op. United Power is also the first and only Tri-State member co-op to purchase up to 3.2 megawatts of generation fueled from landfill gas — collected at the Erie Landfill site in northern Colorado.

Tri-State supports the development of local renewable energy projects by its member systems with financial incentives and assistance, as approved by the association’s board of directors.

United Power’s Hanger 160 Solar Project is comprised of 7,600 PV panels on a 10-acre site in northern Colorado.

United Power’s Hanger 160 Solar Project is comprised of 7,600 PV panels on a 10-acre site in northern Colorado.

The $6.6 million solar site was designed, engineered and constructed by Denver-based Samuel Engineering, which also provides operations and maintenance services for the facility. The project is comprised of 7,600 PV panels each with a maximum output of 300 watts.

United Power also operates one of the region’s first cooperatively-owned community solar projects, called Sol Partners, in which its member-consumers have the opportunity to lease solar panels for a 25-year period and receive energy credits on their electric bills.

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