Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA) today announced two new solar arrays with a combined capacity of 2 MW are now online and generating clean, renewable electricity to support PVREA’s renewable energy goal and benefit PVREA members.
These arrays expand two of the three existing utility-scale solar projects completed by the partnership between PVREA and Silicon Ranch: the Kersey Solar Farm, located adjacent to the Platte Valley High School in Kersey, and the Skylark Solar Farm near Severance. With these expansions, the two solar projects together generate enough electricity to power over 2,100 PVREA households annually.
The solar farm expansions help PVREA reach its “80 by 30” goal of powering the communities it serves with 80% renewable energy by 2030. The co-op, which serves 45,000 homes and businesses in Larimer, Weld, and Boulder Counties, introduced its carbon-free initiative last summer. According to PVREA President and CEO Jeff Wadsworth, the co-op began procuring renewable energy from local sources, however, long before this goal was set.
“We have been proactively adding more renewable energy in our communities for over eight years, beginning with our first community solar farm in 2012, while also maintaining affordable rates – PVREA has had only one small rate increase in the past seven years and has announced no rate increases through 2021,” PVREA President and CEO Jeff Wadsworth commented. “We’re proud of our accomplishments and continue to look for methods of incorporating more carbon-free resources while holding the line on rates for our community.”
Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, funded the construction and will own and operate the new facilities for the long term, as it does with every project it develops. The construction of these facilities supported approximately 60 jobs, many of which were filled by local labor and local subcontractors, and brought roughly $2,000,000 of labor related income to the community.
“Silicon Ranch is pleased to continue to expand our long-term partnership with PVREA and we’re grateful for the trust they have placed in our company to deliver these facilities that will both provide enduring value to co-op members and help reach their renewable energy goal,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr. “We applaud PVREA’s long standing commitment to renewable power to serve their members, their communities, and their state.”
Silicon Ranch introduced its holistic approach to land management, trademarked Regenerative EnergyTM, on the Skylark Solar Farm in 2019, and later this year, the company will integrate this approach on both the Kersey and Skylark Solar Farms. Regenerative EnergyTM keeps the property in agricultural production, as adaptively-managed grazing livestock, diverse plant life, pollinator habitat, and wildlife work together to revitalize degraded soils, enhance biodiversity, make ecosystems more resilient, improve the watershed, and sequester carbon in the soil. Quantifiable ecological, economic, and social outcomes are backed by third-party verified standards.
In recent years, PVREA has made significant carbon-free advancements by incorporating local renewable energy into the electric grid. PVREA’s current power mix includes two hydroelectric generators, four large solar arrays, and three community-owned solar farms. With these two new arrays becoming operational, the co-op has brought online 11 local renewable energy projects totaling 20.5 MW of renewable energy that powers 3,650 homes and businesses that receive electricity from PVREA. Altogether, PVREA members receive 30 percent of their energy from renewable resources, which is planned to increase to 50 percent by 2024.