Not as big as the Nevada SolarOne 64 MW plant, but enough to power about 3200 homes. Why is the utility company doing this? . . .
Xcel said it's building the facility in order to comply with Amendment 37 mandates that the company have 18 megawatts of solar power on its system. Voters approved Amendment 37 in 2004. "This [photovoltaic] plant combined with Xcel Energy's Solar Rebate program will help bring us closer to meeting the state's Renewable Energy Standard," said the CEO of the Public Service Company of Colorado.
The trend is definitely toward cleaner energy from public utilities in many states. Traditionally, utilities have looked to buy wind to satisfy this requirement, because wind power has been and still is much cheaper than solar. But recently these solar projects suggest that solar is making financial sense as well, with a guaranteed 100% return on the initial investment over the life of the solar installation.
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