COLORADO SPRING, Colo. -- A solar farm located 20 miles southwest of Colorado Springs will be the first-of-its kind to provide energy directly to ratepayers by the end of October.
The new Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array is set to generate enough power to supply between 2,900 to 3,000 homes with renewable energy.
“This is the fist-of-its-kind utility-wide generation project for the benefit of all of our customers," said Amy Trinidad, a spokeswoman for Colorado Springs Utilities.
The 10-megawatt project, which is twice as large as the Air Force Academy Solar Array in northern Colorado Springs, is located on 156 acres of land owned by Colorado Springs Utilities. The land was formerly used for agriculture and grazing.
The Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array is projected to reduce 18,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which would have been produced if the electricity had been created using fossil fuels, according to Colorado Springs Utility officials.
A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, designed and built the solar array. The company will also own and operate the farm, Trinidad said. The power generated by the solar array will then be sold to Colorado Springs Utilities under a 25-year contract.
(PHOTO: Clear Spring Ranch Ranch Solar Array, courtesy: Amy Trinidad, Colorado Springs Utilities)
The Clear Spring Ranch Solar Array will use about 42,000 solar panels with trackers that will follow the sun east to west each day.
"This array will help diversify the community’s energy supply and provide long-term compliance with the 10-percent renewable energy requirement as stated in the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard," a Colorado Springs Utility official said in a statement.
Currently, only 0.3 percent of the energy generated by the city is solar energy.