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Distributed Energy Resources

New Solar Array in Fountain, Colo., Set to Provide Savings for City

The City of Fountain, Colo., a public power community, recently provided an update on the city’s Green Power Initiative, which includes a 1.7-megawatt solar array.

The solar array project broke ground in August of 2022 and was completed in November 2023.

The City of Fountain was awarded a $1,350,000 grant from the state of Colorado through the Department of Local Affairs, which paid for about 37% of the $3,678,000 solar array project.

The remaining portion of the project is funded by a loan that is secured by and will be repaid with guaranteed savings from the project. No ratepayer money was used to pay for the solar array.

The solar array project is guaranteed by the city’s performance contractor, Veregy, to save the city approximately $175,000 per year based on today’s energy prices. Veregy is contractually obligated to make up the difference annually if the guaranteed savings are not achieved.

After loan payments, the guaranteed annual net savings will be approximately $31,000 per year for 20 years.

Through the project the city is advancing the state’s renewable energy goals towards achieving 100% renewables by 2040.

Previously the city did not own or operate any electric generating facilities, but that changed with the solar project. By adding additional energy sources to the city’s supply portfolio, it is anticipating a growing population and corresponding electric demand, the city said.

Veregy said that the completion of the solar array project now allows the city to offset 100% of the electricity used to power municipal facilities and streetlights. “This remarkable achievement marks the first project in the state of Colorado to fully offset facility electricity consumption using renewable energy resources in a city,” Veregy said.

The solar system not only provides clean energy but also contributes to improvements to energy efficiency in the city's facilities, Veregy said.

Through LED lighting retrofits at a fire station, water upgrades for buildings and parks, and an updated building automation system with an advanced integration platform, Fountain's facilities have undergone significant enhancements, it noted.

Overall, the city said that the project:

  • Increases the diversity of the City of Fountain’s power supply;
  • Provides a local source of power;
  • Increases long term electric rate stability;
  • Reduces reliance on fossil fuels for the generation of electricity;
  • Incorporates more clean energy into the city’s supply portfolio; and
  • Reduces emission of air pollutants through reduced reliance on fossil fuels.