Lightsource bp and Xcel Energy completed the 300-MW Bighorn Solar project in Pueblo, Colorado. The solar project will support more than 1,000 jobs at EVRAZ’s Pueblo steel mill and power almost the entire operation.
The project is located on 1,800 acres of land on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo. It is the largest on-site solar facility in the United States dedicated to a single customer, with more than 750,000 solar panels providing nearly all the plant’s annual electricity demand.
This will let the mill produce some of the world’s greenest steel and steel products. The plant recycles scrap metal to produce new steel products, including some of the most sustainably made rail in the world.
“This project proves that even hard-to-abate sectors like steel can be decarbonized when companies come together with innovative solutions,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp, Americas. “Our collaboration with Xcel Energy and EVRAZ North America made Bighorn Solar a reality. It’s a great example of partners tackling complex issues that US industry is facing today, while at the same time preserving jobs in the manufacturing sector.”
The Bighorn Solar project is currently generating electricity into the grid and is expected to come fully online in November 2021.
“Bighorn Solar shows us what the future of American energy can look like,” said Dave Lawler, chairman and president of bp America. “Renewable energy can create a more sustainable, competitive business. Projects like this can make companies more resilient and protect jobs through the energy transition. And it’s another example of how bp is working to help the US and the world reach net zero by 2050. “
Lightsource bp financed owns and operates Bighorn Solar and sells the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. As part of that arrangement, EVRAZ will receive clean, renewable power and price certainty from Xcel Energy through 2041.
“This is an exciting day for us at Xcel Energy,” said Bob Frenzel, president and CEO, Xcel Energy. “Working together with Lightsource bp and EVRAZ North America, we’re creating innovative solutions for our customers while developing new solar energy resources in Colorado. Through this collaboration we’re bringing jobs to the community, harnessing our natural resources and increasing renewable energy in the state.”
EVRAZ North America is Xcel Energy’s largest retail electric customer in Colorado and one of Pueblo’s largest employers.
“Like bp and Xcel Energy, EVRAZ is committed to reducing emissions and operating more sustainably,” said Skip Herald, CEO, EVRAZ North America. “As each new acre of solar panels is installed, we find ourselves closer to our goal of making EVRAZ in Pueblo one of the greenest steel facilities in the world. The journey shows what can happen when like-minded companies come together and work across government and industry to promote cleaner energy, cleaner products and more resilient communities. This is an incredible milestone.”