Black Hills Energy launches two solar projects in southeastern Colorado

Company says it’s on pace to meet state’s renewable energy standard by 2020

By  | The Denver Post

Two new community solar projects will provide power in southeast Colorado to schools, municipal governments and homes.

Black Hills Energy, a natural gas and electric utility, teamed up with Greenskies Renewable Energy to install the “solar gardens.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday marked the launch of a 500-kilowatt installation in Rocky Ford. A 2-megawatt facility will provide power in Ordway.

“We are excited to deliver a solution to the growing interest in solar energy from both customers and community leaders and expand our renewable portfolio at the same time with the construction of these new community solar gardens,” Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Colorado’s electric utility operations, said in a statement.

Greenskies, a Clean Focus company, will maintain and operate the facilities for subscribers to the solar power. Clean Focus Yield Limited will own the arrays as part of its portfolio of commercial, industrial, small utility and community solar projects.

“The Rocky Ford and Crowley County community solar projects provide clean energy to local housing authorities, schools, community colleges and city governments and enable customers to benefit from solar without any equipment on their roofs or property,” said Stanley Chin, president and CEO of Greenskies and Clean Focus Group.

Black Hills Energy said construction will start early next year on the 60-megawatt Busch Ranch II wind farm in Huerfano and Las Animas counties. With this addition, the utility said it will meet Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, requiring utilities to get 30 percent of their power from renewable energy resources by 2020.

Black Hills Energy serves 1.25 million customers in eight states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. It is part of Black Hills Corp., based in Rapid City, S.D.