Xcel to Purchase Power from Colorado’s Largest Solar Plant at Price Competitive with Natural Gas

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SunEdison announces its acquisition of the 156 MW DC Comanche Solar project from Community Energy. Xcel Energy will purchase electricity generated from the solar plant under a 25-year power purchase agreement with SunEdison, which will maintain the plant.

 

Solar provider SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) today announced its acquisition of the 156 MW DC Comanche Solar project, the largest solar installation east of the Rockies, from renewable energy developer Community Energy. SunEdison is partnering with Community Energy to complete the final development stage of the project by structuring the financing and providing procurement expertise for the project, following which SunEdison will manage the construction, operation, and maintenance of the solar power plant.

Construction will begin in 2015, with commercial operation targeted for early 2016. The Comanche Solar project is one of the TerraForm Power call right projects, whereby TerraForm has the option (but not the obligation) to purchase the project from SunEdison once it achieves commercial operation.

Xcel Energy will purchase electricity generated from the solar PV power plant under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with SunEdison. Something significant about this project: Xcel will purchase this solar-generated electricity at rates that are competitive with the long-term forecast for natural gas-fired generation.

“This large-scale Comanche Solar generating facility will deliver clean, renewable energy for our customers at a price that is right,” said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Company of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “Solar energy is an increasingly important part of our energy future and it is clear that many of our customers and fellow Colorado citizens share that belief. We want to make sure that solar energy policy encourages the development of solar energy in a transparent and sustainable manner.”

What Eves doesn’t say, of course, is that Xcel has been fighting these same customers and fellow citizens when it comes to distributed rooftop solar generation. But it certainly has been bringing more large-scale solar to Colorado.

“The Comanche Solar project represents a new era for utility scale solar,” said Eric Blank, President of Community Energy. “We’re pleased to work with industry leaders like SunEdison and Xcel Energy and look forward to bringing this project online.”

“Solar energy is now an economical choice for utilities across America,” said Bob Powell, president, North America at SunEdison. “SunEdison welcomes the opportunity to work with other project developers across America and together, to show our utility customers how solar energy can serve both the bottom line and their community’s desire for clean energy.”

The 900-acre solar power plant will be comprised of more than 400,000 SunEdison high-efficiency mono-crystalline PV modules. Once operational, the solar power plant will be managed by the SunEdison Renewable Operation Center (ROC), which provides global 24/7 asset management, monitoring, and reporting services.