PUEBLO, Colo. - Pueblo's long days of sunshine helped it land the state's largest solar farm.
Xcel Energy and Community Energy announced Tuesday plans to build a solar farm across from Xcel's Comanche Station, about 2 miles southeast of Pueblo. Developers say the 900-acre gently sloping grading lot is suitable and will require minimal work to prepare it for solar installation.
The Comanche Solar Project will consist of more than 450,000 solar panels that will follow the sun as it rises and sets.
Kathy Worthington, area manager for Xcel Energy, said most of the power generated will benefit Xcel customers along the front rage and the Denver metro area.
"The advantage to Pueblo for this particular farm is going to be based more on tax base than anything else. They will obtain additional property tax from just grazing land turned into actually a production plant," Worthington said.
Community Energy says the solar farm will generate power for about 31,000 homes its first year. The company estimates the project will reduce CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tons over the farm's 25-year life.
A spokesman for Community Energy said construction is expected to begin March 2015 and will generate about 250 jobs during the 12-15 months it takes to build.
The plant is expected to begin running June 2016 and will create roughly 10 permanent positions.