AVONDALE, Colo. (KRDO) - After four years in development, Colorado's newest large-scale solar energy project is now up and running in Pueblo County.
The 500,000 solar panels are going to power more than 42,000 homes in Pueblo County. The project is Xcel Energy's first battery energy storage project. Xcel says the panels can generate up to 248 megawatts of low-cost, renewable energy paired with 100 megawatts of battery energy storage.
These batteries will store the energy and make it available even when the sun isn't shining, improving the reliability to make the energy available for more hours of the day.
"It's clean, homegrown energy that doesn't produce any emissions," NextEra Energy Resources Project Director Nathan Keiser said. "We've got the amazing solar resource in Colorado and it makes sense to use it to produce clean, renewable energy. Pueblo county has some of the best solar resources in the entire country."
The project has also boosted Pueblo County's economy by bringing 250 construction jobs to the area.
"It's on land owned by the Colorado State Land Board," Keiser said. "The Colorado State Land Board uses revenues from state trust lands to fund the Colorado School System. So all of this revenue generated by this project will be used for the Colorado Public School System."
Over the next 35 years, the project is also expected to generate approximately $59 million in additional tax revenue for Pueblo County.