Bringing the Community Together with a Community Solar Farm

Over 78 years ago, community leaders banded together and formed the Cooperative to bring electricity to their homes and farms. Community is a part of our history, and is still a foundational piece of our business today.

This summer, co-op members are banding together again to bring online the region’s largest community solar farm. Members asked for it, and we answered.

This summer, PVREA is constructing another community solar farm - the Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm. This farm will be the third community solar farm in the co-op’s history. In 2012, PVREA built our first Community Solar Farm located right here at the co-op’s headquarters. It was sold out before the array was even completed. Then three years later, we constructed a second Community Solar Farm just north of Fort Collins, which sold out soon after it was energized.

There is still a strong demand from members for their co-op to provide these community solar opportunities, so it makes sense for the co-op to build another solar farm. It also is important to note that this project makes economic sense for PVREA based on the size and the pricing, maintains reliability of our local grid as we get to choose the placement, and conserves natural resources.

The 1.95-megawatt solar farm with nearly 6,000 solar panels will be located on nine acres of land south of the Larimer County Landfill on Taft Hill Road near Fort Collins. We worked closely with Larimer County and the folks at the Larimer County Landfill to make the project possible, and really appreciate their partnership with the co-op to provide an optimal location for this solar farm. The unique site location allows PVREA to readily interconnect the solar farm to a part of our system with the least amount of negative impact for grid reliability, and gains a valuable use of the land for Larimer County.

The co-op created the myLocal Solar program where members can subscribe to renewable energy. As opposed to an ownership model, members will opt into the myLocal Solar program and subscribe a portion of the array to offset their electric use. 

PVREA owns and maintains the solar array, which means we take care of the installation and maintenance of the solar farm, and members simply see their community solar farm bill credit each month on their electric bill.

We’re also making sure all PVREA members have the opportunity to participate in the myLocal Solar program and harvest renewable energy. Solar energy has historically only been available to those households who can afford the upfront cost of the technology. In partnership with GRID Alternatives Colorado, a non-profit organization, this project allows PVREA to be able to offer a solar subscription to any member, regardless of income level or location in the Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties.

Community solar is a great way for members to participate in renewable energy because of its ease of access and no maintenance. With rooftop solar systems, it’s up to you to have your array installed on your roof and maintained throughout the life of the system. Further, many PVREA homes are not even suitable for a rooftop system because of their location. With community solar, none of those hassles exist. PVREA takes care of the installation and maintenance for you, and it’s more affordable - your portion of the array can be sized to fit your budget.

Look for more information about the myLocal Solar program here. We’re excited about this project and bringing our co-op community together, just like we always have.

Jeff Wadsworth
President & CEO

Date Posted: 7/27/2017