Trout Creek Solar – Behind the Scenes

Sangre de Cristo Electric Association’s efforts to bring a utility-scale solar project online is an extensive process. Many steps are taken in order to ensure the project will meet the needs of our consumers. It may seem like the build of Trout Creek Solar is moving slowly, where little progress is seen over many months’ time. Be assured, we’re working diligently to bring the project online.  Here are some of the steps that have been taken, as well as what is currently in negotiation before dirt is moved and this project is brought online.

Over the past 18 months:

The financial merit of the project and support for sourcing locally-generated solar power in to SDCEA’s energy mix, as well as the size, cost and output of the project were considered in SDCEA’s business plan.

Extensive negotiations were held to determine a size and scale of the project, as those parameters impact the agreement SDCEA has in place to purchase wholesale power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.

Engineering studies looked at potential impacts a solar farm would have on SDCEA’s electric delivery system.

A developer for the solar project was sought. After several months of seeking and reviewing proposals, international firm juwi, Inc.  was chosen in a competitive process.

SDCEA’s solar array will be located on Colorado Department of Corrections property. Gaining access to the site must comply with security and other considerations of CDOC.

A site access agreement is pending final CDOC signatures.  juwi, Inc. representatives have begun preliminary site studies that need completion prior to construction of this project.

In the months ahead:

SDCEA is working on several major agreements that must be in place before Trout Creek Solar breaks ground in late August 2018.

License Agreement. A license, between the State of Colorado and SDCEA needs to be negotiated and granted. A license agreement provides an understanding between all parties about how the property will be used for the life of the solar facility.

PPA. A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement whereby juwi arranges for the design, permitting, financing, installation, and operation of the solar facility and sells the output of the solar facility to SDCEA at a contracted energy price.

Interconnection Agreements. These agreements between juwi, SDCEA, and Tri-State govern how the solar facility interconnects with SDCEA’s grid and complies with all of Tri-State’s metering, control, and grid protection requirements to ensure safe operation of the solar facility and grid at all times.