Lafayette launches 2 solar garden projects
The projects are part of a new program offered by Xcel Energy Inc. The program, officially named SolarRewards Community, builds photovoltaic systems that can be shared by Xcel Energy’s residential, commercial and government clients.
The shared systems enable people who cannot install rooftop systems to use solar power. Developers will install the gardens and receive production credits from Xcel Energy. The developers can then sell or lease credits to customers, according to a press release from Xcel Energy.
Lafayette will build the two arrays near an existing array by its water treatment plant, public information officer Debbie Wilmot said. The facility is near the intersection of East Baseline Road and East County Line Road.
Lafayette won’t have to foot the construction bill.
“There’s not any upfront costs involved in it, so there’s no capital expenditures for the city,” Wilmot said.
Within the first 30 minutes of accepting applications, the program open to systems in the 108 to 500 kilowatts-range received three times the number of applications for the program than it could accommodate, Xcel Energy said in a press release.
Ten projects were approved, which will add 4.5 megawatts of capacity. Three of the projects are in Boulder County, one for 500 kilowatts and two for 499 kilowatts.
Lafayette announced in a press release Thursday that it will create two gardens that together will generate one megawatt of electricity. Most of the power will be used by city-owned facilities, but the city has launched a program that would share the power with low-income residents. Lafayette said in a press release those residents can expect a 50 percent cut in their electric bill.
Lafayette residents will be able to apply for its community solar project through Sept. 30. More information and applications are online at www.cityoflafayette.com.
Xcel Energy has proposed to add nine megawatts of solar gardens in 2012, and another nine megawatts in 2013.
The SolarRewards Community program has factored into the dispute between the city of Boulder and Xcel Energy over the city’s possible creation of a municipal electric utility. Xcel Energy asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to allow it to exclude Boulder customers from the program. The PUC rejected the request.
Xcel Energy would not disclose if any applications from within Boulder city limits were approved. Xcel Energy said because of confidentiality agreements it would not release additional details about SolarRewards Community projects. Clients using the gardens are free to publicize them, according to Xcel Energy.
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