- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

ALAMOSA, Colo. (AP) - Commercial-scale solar farms want to keep growing in Alamosa County, with companies hoping to beat a December 2016 deadline for a federal tax credit that has been driving substantial solar development in recent years.

The Alamosa County Land Use Department has held meetings about expansion with Iberdrola Renewables, First Solar and Next Era, said Rachel Baird, the department’s deputy administrator. That’s in addition to the multiple phone calls received from other major developers in the last few months, Baird said.

Together, the facilities generate 87 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power more than 15,000 homes in Colorado and generate more than $500,000 in tax benefits.

In Colorado, it only takes six to nine months to obtain a permit, compared with up to two years in other states, the Alamosa Valley Courier reported (https://tinyurl.com/n8xda4k ).

In addition to encouraging development, the county needs to pay for extra services to help the solar companies, Alamosa County Chairman Darius Allen said. Bringing the facilities to the county is a difficult task, requiring extra staff hours to complete the permit process, officials said.

Utility-scale solar projects have been generating reliable, clean energy with a stable fuel price for more than two decades, officials said. What distinguishes utility-scale solar is the fact that the electricity is sold to wholesale utility buyers, not consumers.

Utility-scale solar plants provide electricity during periods of peak demand when electricity from fossil fuels is the most expensive, supporters of solar energy said.

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Information from: Valley Courier, https://www.alamosanews.com/


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