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Tri-State expands opportunity for community solar | KTIC Radio

Tri-State expands opportunity for community solar

Tri-State expands opportunity for community solar

Rural electricity consumers will have expanded opportunities to participate in community solar under a new program recommended by the membership of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, and approved by the cooperative’s board of directors at their November meeting.

The community solar program supports member-owned or controlled solar photovoltaic systems, which are marketed to cooperative retail consumer-members under subscription arrangements. Consumers can participate in community solar projects and gain the benefits of clean energy and lower power costs,
regardless of the orientation or location of their home.

“Our members are working together to create more flexibility for local renewable power generation. Expanding opportunities for co-op members to participate in community solar is another step toward that goal,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO.

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA) presented and advanced the community solar proposal through the membership’s Contract Committee. The northern Colorado distribution cooperative has three community solar projects for its consumer-members.

“Community solar provides every co-op consumer-member with the opportunity to go solar, and now more consumers will have the option to benefit from clean, low cost solar power,” said Jeff Wadsworth, CEO of PVREA and a member of Tri-State’s Contract Committee.

The Contract Committee of Tri-State’s membership continues to review options to allow members with more flexibility for power supply, including partial requirements contracts and additional local renewable energy.

“Tri-State’s board of directors acted quickly to address our members’ desire to support community solar, and our membership continues its work to evaluate proposals for further flexibility through partial requirements contract options,” said Rick Gordon, Tri-State board chairman and Mountain View Electric
Association director.

Solar generation under the program will not be included in the 5% self-supply provisions agreed to by members in their wholesale power contracts with Tri-State. Tri-State’s total commitment to the program, if acted upon by all members, would be 63 megawatts of community solar projects. Currently, approximately 31 percent of the electricity consumed by Tri-State’s members comes from renewable resources. With the addition of two recently announced projects, Tri-State’s wind and solar resources will be increasing by an additional 45 percent. This increase in renewable generation allows Tri-State to serve the equivalent of more than a half a million rural homes with renewable resources. Tri-State will further increase that amount from our sixth renewable energy request for proposals, which was released in June 2019.

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