New solar facilities provide innovative, local alternative energy source for benefit of PVREA members

Poudre Valley REA and Silicon Ranch Corporation announced Jan. 7 that nearly 100,000 solar panels are live and generating renewable energy to Poudre Valley REA members in Northern Colorado.

The Skylark and Valley View Solar Facilities, both in Weld County, sit on nearly 150 acres of land combined and house nearly 100,000 solar panels — equivalent to the size of 48 football fields. The 8-megawatt solar facilities alone are 12 times larger than the Cooperative’s second Community Solar Farm that went live in January 2015 and are one of the first of its kind in Northern Colorado.

“This project is a milestone for Poudre Valley REA. Although we have completed renewable energy projects prior, such as our community solar farms and the Carter Lake Hydropower Project, the Skylark and Valley View Solar Facilities are significantly larger and add another local, renewable energy source,” PVREA CEO Jeff Wadsworth said.

PVREA earlier this year signed a Purchase Power Agreement with Silicon Ranch Corporation to develop the Skylark and Valley View Solar Facilities. McCarthy Building Companies, one of the largest American-owned construction firms, was contracted by Silicon Ranch to build the solar facilities and hired 160 local workforce in Northern Colorado for construction. In just three months, the sites went from dirt to hundreds of rows of solar panels generating enough energy to power 1,300 homes annually.

“As long-term owners of all our projects, Silicon Ranch takes great pride in being excellent neighbors and active members in the communities that we serve,” said Silicon Ranch President and CEO Matt Kisber. “To that end, we have spent considerable time and effort over the past several months listening, learning, and responding to various stakeholders throughout Weld County, including but not limited to Upstate Colorado Economic Development, Greeley City Council, the Weld County Board of County Commissioners, local city and county planning departments, and of course, our neighbors.”

The solar generation facilities are directly tied into the cooperative’s distribution system and used as a local energy source, contributing to the local power mix for all PVREA members in Weld, Larimer and Boulder counties. Silicon Ranch worked with PVREA to locate the facilities that form the project at two strategic sites, one near Greeley and the other near Severance, to maximize benefits to the co-op members and to match to PVREA’s load requirements. The cooperative also has other renewable energy projects — Carter Lake Hydropower, two community solar Farms, and several hundred members with individual photovoltaic solar systems.

With the commissioning of the Skylark and Valley View Solar Facilities, PVREA members receive 28 percent of their energy from renewable resources.

“We’re pleased to be providing renewable energy to our members that maintains reliability, makes economic sense and conserves natural resources, and we will continue to research additional energy resources that prove advantageous for our members,” Wadsworth said.

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