Colorado’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant to date is slated for construction in Alamosa County and begin, if all goes according to plan, will be producing power by the beginning of 2011.

The Greater Sandhill Solar Project, as it is called, will be built by SunPower Corporation and have a generating capacity of 17 megawatts (MW) — enough to power roughly the equivalent of 6,700 average American homes for a full year. When completed, it could be the second largest solar PV plant in the United States, according to the Valley Courier, local newspaper in Alamosa County. That’s a title the project won’t enjoy for too long, however, as many larger projects are in the works in other states, like California.

The project’s origins go back to 2008, when Xcel Energy requested proposals for a PV plant in Colorado. SunPower’s proposal, apparently, was the most enticing. Then roughly two weeks ago the wheels really started turning. That’s when SunPower representatives held an open informational session with residents of the san Luis Valley to review the details of the plan. A public hearing between SunPower and Alamosa County commissioners is scheduled for mid-November, and construction should begin shortly after that. The plant is predicted to create roughly 50 new clean energy jobs in Colorado.

Another sign of progress came today, when Wilmington Trust announced it will serve as collateral agent for the Greater Sandhill Solar Project, meaning it will be responsible before the receipt, transfer, distribution and investment of funds pertaining to the project.

As noted above, Greater Sandhill may not hold claim to being Colorado’s largest farm for long. Iberdrola Renewables is already planning a PV project within the state that expected to have a 30-MW generating capacity. It will be built in two phases, and though Iberdrola is still seeking permits to build on public lands, it plans to begin construction next summer.

Source: Get Solar.

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