Platte River Power Authority has contracted with juwi solar, Inc., a Boulder-based solar and wind energy generation company to develop, design, build and operate a 22-megawatt solar array. The array will consist of 100,000 photovoltaic panels on 185 acres of land north of Wellington owned by PRPA and adjacent to the Rawhide Energy Plant. Upon final site design, the facility may be capable of producing 30 megawatts of energy. The array will serve the average needs of 7,000 homes.
PRPA, a non-profit wholesale electricity generation and transmission provider owned by the communities of Fort Collins, Estes Park, Longmont and Loveland, received approval of a land use permit application for the facility in December 2014. Construction will begin this spring and will be completed by late summer 2016. A final agreement with juwi was reached in February.
In 2014, PRPA served 135,253 residential customers in the four communities. Of the total energy produced, 74.2 percent came from coal, 19.1 percent came from hydropower, 4.8 percent was wind generated, 1.7 percent was purchased and .02 percent came from natural gas. In 2015, wind power will increase to 11 percent. In 2016, when the solar array is complete, between 1.5 and 2 percent of PRPA’s energy production will come from solar energy. “The solar array will increase the percentage of our non-carbon produced power from 30 to 32 percent,” said John Little, PRPA’s marketing and community relations manager.
juwi is wholly owned by juwi AG, the leading German renewable energy company. That firm has developed and built more than 1,500 renewable energy facilities worldwide. The company focuses on projects of one MW (equal to a million watts) and larger. The company has 600 employees.
The Boulder-based juwi solar company has built 150 megawatts of operating solar projects and 100 megawatts of operating wind projects in the United States.
juwi is currently building a 62MW solar PV project in Millard County, Utah, and a 13MW solar PV project in Charles County, Md., performing the same services for these projects that juwi will complete for PRPA.