More Sun Power From Colorado’s Electric Cooperatives

Colorado’s electric co-op power supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, is adding another solar project.

The Spanish Peaks Solar Project, located in San Isabel Electric Association’s territory in southern Colorado, is a 100-megawatt utility-scale project on 660 acres north of Trinidad. Tri-State will buy the entire output of the project during the 15 years of the power purchase contract. The power supply co-op is ranked number one in solar power purchases among all U.S. cooperative G&Ts, according to the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

A growing part of Tri-State’s energy portfolio comes directly from renewable resources as a result of technological improvements and domestic energy policies that contributed to lower costs. In 2018, nearly one-third of the energy consumed by Tri-State’s member systems’ retail customers came from renewable resources, making the membership an industry leader for its use of renewable power.

Spanish Peaks will be Tri-State’s largest, most cost-effective solar project to date. It is adjacent to the 30-megawatt San Isabel Solar Project in Las Animas County, which began producing power for Tri-State in 2016. The new project includes more than 300,000 photovoltaic solar panels on single-axis tracking arrays that will follow the sun. It has the potential to serve the energy needs of 28,000 rural homes.

Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and completed in 2023.

Tri-State, a co-op, is the power supplier for 18 of the 22 distribution electric co-ops in Colorado, as well as providing power to co-ops in Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.