Black Hills Energy has announced the partners it has selected to supply an additional 2.5 megawatts of new community solar garden capacity in Southern Colorado.
The new projects include a 2 megawatt facility and a separate 500-kilowatt garden dedicated entirely to serving low-income customers, according to Black Hills.
The winning, lowest cost bids for the projects came from Pivot Energy and Grid Alternatives, according to the utility.
Pivot Energy, a Denver-based solar energy company, would lead construction of the 2 megawatt facility in north Pueblo and partner with local high school STEM programs, colleges and universities to provide educational opportunities via scholarships and hands-on experiences throughout the project.
Grid Alternatives, a nonprofit organization with a stated focus of making clean energy more accessible to underserved communities, would build the 500-kilowatt low-income solar garden near Pueblo Memorial Airport.
Construction is expected to begin later this year and subscriptions to the solar gardens are still available at both facilities for all Black Hills Energy customers in Pueblo, Canon City and across the Southern Colorado territory, according to the utility.
Black Hills said once this project is completed, its total community solar garden capacity will reach just over 10 megawatts by the end of 2021, with more than 2 megawatts dedicated solely to serving low-income customers.
“Selecting partners for these new community solar garden projects brings us one step closer to delivering more renewable energy options for all of our customers, including income-qualified residential customers and local non-profit service providers,” Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy’s vice president for Southern Colorado, said in a statement about the project. “Community solar gardens are a cost-effective solution for customers interested in clean energy and provide another option for residents who may not have the ability to invest in a rooftop solar array. We’ll continue to make solar energy more accessible than ever with additional community solar gardens planned in the coming years.”
Black Hills said it is also continuing to work on a proposal that seeks to lower customers’ bills by adding up to 200 megawatts of new, low-cost renewable energy resources to its Southern Colorado system by way of large-scale projects including wind, solar and battery storage.
The company has received over 50 bids for the project.
“Black Hills Energy is continuing our significant efforts to lower customer bills and increase renewables through the Renewable Advantage program. The Company’s Request for Proposals was successful in garnering interest from renewable and storage bidders across the country and we received 54 competitive bids,” said Julie Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Black Hills. “We will provide a report on the bids we received to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on March 16. After initial review of the bids, Black Hills Energy is confident we can lower customer bills with additional renewable energy and we look forward to sharing additional information with the community in the coming weeks.”