By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver
(Glenwood Springs, Colo.) The company developing a solar array and battery facility at Colorado Mountain College's Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs campus said the project is nearly complete and will be operational this fall.
The 22-acre, 4.5-megawatt project is “Colorado’s largest solar array and battery storage facility of its kind,” said Ameresco, the Massachusetts-based renewable energy developer, owner and operator building the facility alongside Carbondale-based solar electric engineering and construction contractor Sunsense Solar, the college and the local utility.
The facility will send enough electricity to the Holy Cross Energy distribution system to power about 1,000 homes. Colorado Mountain College is leasing school-owned land south of its Spring Valley campus to Ameresco to operate the project, which includes five megawatts of battery storage that can be discharged during times of high electricity demand.
The facility’s solar generation will avoid annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 6,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or the same benefits as removing more than 1,480 passenger vehicles from the road or not burning more than 7.5 million pounds of coal.
“Swiftly adopting renewable energy in our electricity sector and then extending the impact of that clean electricity across the economy will protect the health of our communities, create good-paying jobs, strengthen our economy and save Coloradans money,” Gov. Jared Polis said in prepared remarks.
Solar development is expanding in the state as Colorado works to lower its 2025 emissions by at least 26 percent, 2030 emissions by at least 50 percent and 2050 emissions by at least 90 percent from 2005 levels.
Total installed solar capacity rose to 2,268 megawatts in the second quarter from 2,236 during the year's first three months. That’s enough solar to power more than 440,000 homes, up from less than 430,000 the prior quarter, and ranks Colorado 13th in the nation for installed solar capacity.
The additional installations brought the percentage of the state’s electricity from solar generation to 5.95%, up from about 5% in the previous quarter. The state has more than 100,000 solar installations.