Colorado muni wants to be 1/5th solar powered by 2024

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Electricity utilities are going after solar power aggressively in their future build out plans. A recent SEIA report showed that even as the rest of the solar power industry was dealing with fallout from Section 201 – showing a 9% decrease in installation volume so far this year – utility’s had signed deals for 8.5 GW of solar power in the first half of 2018. This trend is seemingly continuing.

Colorado Springs Utility, which serves over 200,000 customers, has signed off on a 150 MW solar + energy storage project. The utility received bids from eight companies in April and will now start the process of narrowing the list of potential projects.

In approving the 150 MW project, the utility also voted down a 100 MW solar power project.

A local paper, the Gazette, communicated some of the potential costs talked about among the utility board.

The two previously approved solar power arrays, all 95 MW worth, will increase customer electricity bills 0.95%. The new 150 MW solar plant is estimated to increase bills by 1.07% – and the battery storage will increase the bills a slight bit more, but no number was noted.

The slightly more than 2% increase is equivalent to about equal to a billing increase of $1.74/month.

The three solar projects, totaling 245 MW, would bring the utility to over 20% of their electric generation coming from solar power.

No specific details were available on the new projects being built. The prior 95 MW of projects, which the utility said they’d signed agreements on in July, brought the utility to 130 MW of total solar capacity. The project’s electricity was purchased at a price below 3.1¢/kWh. The two projects were 60 and 35 MW each.