New solar garden proposed in Breckenridge |

New solar garden proposed in Breckenridge

This large 18 panel solar array (5.4 kW) was installed last week at the North Pond Park demonstration site for Sulas Industries. Breckenridge is currently looking into adding a solar garden near the site of their current solar array.
Bill Linfield / special to the daily |

The town of Breckenridge has voiced support for a proposed new solar garden that would be located next to the current solar array on the McCain property off of State Highway 9.

At the Breck Town Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13, Dan Mcilroy, Clean Energy Collective’s vice president of business development, said his company has been granted more awards to construct solar gardens in Colorado.

“The financial model is similar to before,” he said. “First we want to see if the council wants to proceed.”

CEC previously built two 500 kW solar gardens in Breck that became operational in 2013. The Sol solar garden sits on a three-acre portion of the town owned 127-acre McCain property, which is north of Coyne Valley Road across from the Silver Shekel neighborhood. The other solar garden is on the Stilson property, near the Stables off Wellington Road.

The master plan for the McCain property, which was adopted in 2013, envisions another 500 kW solar garden west of the current location. In 2014, the town communicated this plan to their development partner, CEC.

Consumers can purchase panels in a solar garden, which they then own, and will generate a direct credit on their electric bill for the power produced. Council member Erin Gigliello asked if the already existing solar arrays have been selling briskly.

“Yes, they’ve been sold out the whole time,” Mcilroy said.

Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen noted the yet-to-be constructed second water plant would be a heavy-user of electricity and would justify another solar garden.

Mcilroy said that commercial entities would benefit more than residential customers if the new garden is built.

In response to a comment about imports from China, McElroy said CEC is now purchasing solar panels from First Solar, who manufactures products in Ohio.

Council member Ben Bwrewer, who joked “you had me at solar,” said the new solar garden could power 10 buses.

One rule change since the first garden was built is that sales are no longer restricted to the county where the site is located. As in the past, the town would be required to provide land for the solar array.

After receiving unanimous support from the town council, Breck will now work with CEC to finalize operational and financial details of the arrangement, which will be brought back before the council at a future meeting.

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