SolFocus partners for 200 MWp Concentrator PhotoVoltaic Project at Pueblo Chemical Depot

Project proposed by the Helios Energy Partners, LLC, consortium including KRS Energy, SolFocus, and an unnamed financial company.

Although “SolFocus and Samaras Expand Solar Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) Project in Greece from 1.6MW to 10MW” was announced on Monday, a bigger project progressed forward in Pueblo, Colorado USA, last week.

Pueblo Chemical Depot – View Larger Map

On Sunday, March 8, 2009, The Pueblo Chieftain Editorial “Sun city?” said:

Last week, the county commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with Helios Energy Partners that could eventually lead to a $900 million investment in a 200-megawatt solar array. The county’s role comes because the Army is required eventually to return the land to the county for the benefit of its citizens.

The Pueblo Board of County Commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Helios Energy Partners to develop a 200 MegaWatt-peak (MWp) utility scale CPV solar electric power plant on about 2000 to 3000 acres (~809 to 1214 hectares) of unused land at the Pueblo Chemical Depot.

Commissioners to vote on proposed solar plant today” by Jeff Tucker for The Pueblo Chieftain said:

The memorandum will identify the county as an exclusive partner with Helios as the group prepares to bid on a power purchase agreement with Xcel Energy.

Helios Energy Partners ( ???) must next submit a power purchase agreement bid with Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL) for an April 2009 request for proposal (RFP) and seek U.S. Army approval for Pueblo Army Depot land use. The Pueblo Chemical Depot covers over 21,000 acres while the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) under construction in stages only occupies the northeast corner of the site.

Per “Solar company eyes Pueblo” by Jeff Tucker for The Pueblo Chieftain, Pueblo County Public Works Director Greg Severance said:

Helios would invest at least $900 million in the project if the land is made available.

Pueblo County staff is encouraging Helios to request up to 5,000 acres, space enough for the company to also provide solar energy for other utility companies.

A major advantage of the chemical depot property as a home to solar energy is its proximity to existing transmission lines. There are two transmission lines already in the ground, including one line that skirts the western property line with the depot.

Pueblo Chemical Depot Reuse Commission representatives are also reported to support the solar project.

Colorado has a Renewable Energy Standard requiring Investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy to generate 20% of their electricity from renewables by 2020 including a 4% carve out for solar-electric generation technologies.

At an estimated cost of $900 million, the 200 MWp project would appear to have a $4.50 installed cost per Watt. While the financial company partner has opted to “remain private for now under a nondisclosure agreement”, the project would establish CPV as a bankable solar technology if it wins the Xcel RFP, gets funded, and built.

What will we do without local newspapers like The Pueblo Chieftain?

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