SunPower, Colorado Springs Utilities to build 6 MW solar power plant

Colorado Springs, Colo., November 1, 2010 — Colorado Springs Utilities and SunPower Corp. announced an agreement to design and build a 6-MW solar photovoltaic power system at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Construction will begin this month on the 30-acre site, and the plant is expected to be operational by summer 2011.

The project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as a result of government requirements for federal facilities to use increasing amounts of renewable energy.

SunPower and Springs Utilities will each own 50 percent of the renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the system.

The system will use high-efficiency SunPower solar panels with the SunPower Tracker system. The Tracker follows the sun’s movement during the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over conventional fixed-tilt systems, while reducing land use requirements. The system will be designed to meet USAFA’s stringent engineering design standards.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the system at the Air Force Academy will avoid more than 9,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, the equivalent of removing 40,900 cars from Colorado‘s highways over 25 years.

SunPower has worked with federal agencies since 1999, and has more than 50 MW of solar power systems installed or under contract at government facilities, including systems at Nellis Air Force Base and the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Air Force Academy will host a groundbreaking event this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. MDT to announce construction of the solar installation.

Along with Colorado Springs Utilities and SunPower, USAFA will share a brief overview of the solar power plant features and explain what the array means to the community, the Academy and Springs Utilities.

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