Colorado PUC Approves First-of-a-Kind Solar Energy Contract

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued its written decision approving a Solar Energy Purchasing Agreement (SEPA) between Xcel Energy and SunE Alamosa1, LLC.

The contract, the first of its kind in Colorado under the new renewable energy standards, will provide for the development of an 8-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic electric generation facility in Alamosa. Xcel Energy will purchase the electricity generated by the plant to help it meet the solar requirements of the renewable energy standards adopted by Colorado voters in 2004. The agreement calls for the facility to be in operation by Dec. 31, 2007 in order for Xcel Energy to start generating solar renewable energy credits as soon as possible. It will also ensure that the developer, SunE Alamosa1, LLC, can take advantage of a 30 percent federal investment tax credit available for non-utility solar facilities placed into service before Jan. 1, 2008, which will benefit Colorado ratepayers. While the Commission found that the agreement was reasonable and in the public interest and noted that it was not opposed by any of the parties to the legal case heard by the PUC, it also found that the bidding process used for the solar facility did not fully comply with its rules.
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