Trump-Tariffs on Solar (copy)

FILE- This April 20, 2011, file photo shows some of the 30,000 solar panels that make up the Public Service Company of New Mexico's new 2-megawatt photovoltaic array in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,File)

Construction crews broke ground this month on a solar array project for Colorado Springs Utilities, to be followed soon by two other arrays.

Utilities announced the early stages of two projects in July. The municipal utility’s Board of Directors approved the start of negotiations for a third, larger array in September.

Once all three are finished, a fifth of Utilities’ electricity will come from renewable sources, Utilities officials have said.

The first leg of the work began this month when crews broke ground for the Palmer Solar Project, Utilities spokeswoman Amy Trinidad said. The array will be built by Colorado-based juwi southeast of Colorado Springs and is projected to generate 60 megawatts once complete.

One megawatt is enough to power about 315 homes for a year.

The Palmer Solar Project’s approximately 500-acre site in El Paso County southeast of Fountain is expected to come online in 2020, according to Utilities’ website. Juwi will be responsible for operating the facility once it’s finished.

The second array, called the Grazing Yak Project, will be built by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources and will generate 35 megawatts, according to Utilities. The 270-acre site will be south of Calhan. Similar to the juwi array, NextEra will be responsible for operating the facility. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Negotiations are ongoing for the third and largest project, the Pike Solar Array, which would produce 150 megawatts, according to Utilities. That work would include 25 megawatts of battery storage as well.

“It will be built around the Palmer Solar Project, almost like an extension,” Trinidad said.

The project’s battery storage is the largest facility of its kind announced in Colorado, according to Utilities. That project is expected to be finished by 2023.

conrad.swanson@gazette.com @conrad_swanson

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