Xcel Energy, SunPower complete 19 MW solar photovoltaic plant
The Greater Sandhill solar power plant began generating power December 22, 2010 and is currently the largest operating photovoltaic solar power plant in Colorado
Denver, March 17, 2011 —Xcel Energy and SunPower Corp. announced the completion and commissioning of a 19-MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Colorado's Alamosa County.
Greater Sandhill is generating enough power to serve the annual electricity needs of nearly 5,000 homes. Greater Sandhill was constructed in nine months, creating more than 100 jobs during construction.
The plant uses SunPower Tracker systems, which generate up to 25 percent more energy than conventional systems while reducing land-use requirements.
SunPower Trackers tilt toward the sun as it moves across the sky, increasing energy capture and providing more power on hot summer days when utilities need it most.
MetLife and John Hancock Financial Services financed the third-party ownership of the plant.
SunPower is also constructing a 30-MW PV solar power plant, the San Luis Valley Solar Ranch, on 216 acres of private, former agricultural land in Alamosa County. Expected to be fully operational by the end of 2011, construction began at the end of 2010 and is creating about 100 jobs.
Iberdrola Renewables developed, owns and will operate the San Luis Valley Solar Ranch, and contracted with SunPower to provide the technology and construct the project.
The company will sell the electricity under a long-term contract to Xcel Energy, for distribution on the region's utility grid. In addition to employment opportunities, the project will provide revenue for schools, health, fire, and other critical services in Alamosa County.