- Why this location?
The site is a good location for this project and contains many characteristics recommended for solar projects by agencies including Defenders of Wildlife. Situated at the end of the runway, on a former biosolids disposal dry land farming site, there are few other uses for Aspen San’s land. According to site analysis and environmental studies, the land does not contain any native habitat or vegetation, making it a low-quality habitat for animals. We also understand that its location in the Valley is favorable to the HCE electricity system.
- Who benefits from the project?
The project will serve HCE’s customer base by improving reliability, bringing long-term rate stability, and providing green energy, allowing HCE to meet the needs of its members as relayed in the 2018 Member Needs Assessment. The project will also pay property taxes to the County, while requiring little to no service. Aspen San will benefit from lease payments, a bill credit arrangement with HCE, and the ability to meet its environmental goals.
- Who will own the project?
HCE, a non-profit member-owned electric cooperative utility, and Aspen San, a Colorado municipal corporation, are not in the business of renewable energy development and construction, do not have the ability to directly use the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) – the common method for financing solar facilities, and therefore require a private investor in the project to make their common solar project goal a reality. As a result, in 2017 HCE initiated a public Request for Proposal (RFP) process and selected RES to develop the Aspen San site and work with an investor with suitable tax appetite to construct the project. The typical investor is a large owner of renewable energy assets with a high credit rating. During operations, HCE has the ability to purchase the system from the investor.