Electric Co-op Adds Additional Solar Farm

A 130-acre solar farm three miles east of downtown Fort Lupton is now producing power. The project began in late 2014 after Brighton-based United Power initiated an effort to incorporate cost-effective renewable energy sources to help meet renewable energy goals.

Partnering with solar developer Silicon Ranch Corporation, Silicon Ranch will own and operate the solar farm, while United Power receives all the energy produced over a 20-year period.

The 13-megawatt farm is expected to produce about 30 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year from approximately 150,000 solar panels – enough to power 3,100 homes. The solar field is a single axis tracker, which means that the panels follow the sun throughout the day. This generates about 25 percent more energy than a traditional fixed panel system.

“Not only does this solar field significantly contribute to United Power’s overall renewable generation portfolio,” said Jerry Marizza, new energy program coordinator at United Power. “But it also makes business sense by helping United Power stabilize future rates to all its members.”

The Fort Lupton solar site, along with other renewable projects, helps United Power meet its statutory legal requirements to have 20 percent of its generation produced with renewable energy. It also generates a margin for United Power which correspondingly helps all its members by stabilizing future rate increases.