The City of Loveland today announced the completion of a 3.5 megawatt solar project, built to replace the Idylewilde Dam, which was damaged in the 2013 Colorado Front Range Flood. The solar project is the first electric generating facility in the United States to receive approval through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Alternate Project process.
In 2015, Loveland was awarded approximately $9 million in funding to construct the Foothills Solar and Substation project, with $5.1 million used to construct the solar array. The remaining funds are being used to construct an electric substation on the site, built in conjunction with the Platte River Power Authority. The full scope of the project, including the substation, is expected to reach completion in the spring of 2017. The solar facility is currently operational.
Namasté Solar designed and constructed the solar array, its largest project in Colorado to date. Namasté Solar is a leading designer, installer, and developer of solar photovoltaic systems.
“The City of Loveland has demonstrated true leadership with this project to replace and upgrade its portfolio of cost-effective and clean renewable energy for Loveland ratepayers,” said Dave Vorlage, CEO at Namasté Solar. “The City’s decision to upgrade to solar more than triples the power output of the former Idylwilde Dam. All of our employee-owners at Namaste Solar are proud of the project and thrilled to partner with the City of Loveland.”
The 3.5 megawatt solar project replaces the 900 kilowatt generation capacity of the now dismantled dam. The project was designed to utilize solar tracking technology, provided by Array Technologies of Albuquerque. The solar modules move on a single axis throughout the day, tracking the movement of the sun across the horizon to maximize power output. The system, consisting of 10,332 solar modules, is expected to produce 6,813 megawatt hour of clean electricity annually, enough to power the equivalent of 574 Colorado homes.
“This project demonstrates a creative way to replace and keep a renewable energy resource local while providing benefits to the City beyond energy generation,” said Gretchen Stanford, Acting Director for Loveland Water and Power and Project Manager for the Foothills Solar and Substation project. “This facility will help Loveland Water and Power exceed its renewable energy requirements from the State, delay future capital expenditures, and can even be used for solar education in the community.”
Throughout the project Loveland Power and Water, the city’s municipal electric utility, produced monthly video updates that can be viewed at cityofloveland.org/foothills.
Additional images of the project can be found in Namasté Solar's Project Portfolio.
About Loveland Water and Power
Loveland Water and Power is a municipally owned utility providing Loveland customers power, water and wastewater utility needs. For more information about Loveland Water and Power, visit cityofloveland.org/LWP.