Black Hills Energy completes two Colorado community solar gardens

Solar Power World | Kelsey Misbrener
October 15, 2018

Clean Focus Black Hills Energy 2

Black Hills Energy, in partnership with Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Clean Focus company, delivers new renewable energy sources to customers in Southern Colorado with the completion of two fully-subscribed community solar gardens—a 500-kilowatt garden in Rocky Ford, Colorado, and a 2-megawatt facility in Ordway, Colorado.

Black Hills Energy has partnered with Greenskies Renewable Energy, a Clean Focus company, to maintain and operate these gardens, which will allow subscribers to reap the benefits of clean, sustainable energy. Clean Focus Yield Limited will own the arrays as part of its large portfolio of commercial, industrial, small utility and community solar projects.

“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,” said Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy’s vice president of Colorado’s electric utility operations. “We are fortunate to live in a state where sunshine is abundant, and we can convert sunny days into renewable energy for our customers.”

“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. “We are pleased to partner with Black Hills Energy and look forward to a long relationship with subscribers over the lifetime of these projects.”

Early next year, construction of the new 60 MW Busch Ranch II wind farm will begin in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties. With this addition, Black Hills will meet Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard, requiring 30 percent renewable energy resources by 2020.

In keeping with Black Hills’ commitment to bring more renewable energy to Southern Colorado, the company will continue to invest in solar power in the coming years. Subscriptions are now available at two community solar gardens under construction in Pueblo and Fremont Counties and the utility plans for an additional 2.5 MW of community solar garden power each year over the next four years, including space reserved exclusively for low-income customers.

Black Hills will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 15 in Rocky Ford to celebrate the launch of the new community solar gardens.