Solar Power Purchase Program#
Through the Solar Power Purchase Program (SP3), Fort Collins Utilities is buying 100% green solar electricity from 15 operating sites located in Fort Collins. In 2020, over 6.5 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) were added to the grid from these solar systems, which would be enough to have powered over 650 average homes with all the electricity they needed last year.
Installed SP3 capacity totals over 4,500 kW (4.5 MW), constructed over a seven year period.
Since January 2021, the energy output is contributing to the source mix constituting the Green Energy Subscription program.
Twenty-year contracts between the SP3 system owners and Utilities ensure that Utilities will continue to buy this 100% green solar energy for 20 years - therefore Fort Collins Utilities and subscribers to the Green Energy Subscription program will benefit for decades to come.
SP3 aligns with our Triple Bottom Line (environmental, economic, social sustainability) by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while improving air quality, supporting local investment and creating jobs/training opportunities for our tradespeople while serving as case study topics at many of our educational institutions.
The Solar Power Purchase Program (SP3) incentivizes the installation of new, local solar systems on commercial customer facilities.
The basis of the SP3 is a fixed-price (non- escalating), 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) between Utilities and system owners for solar generation located on commercial facilities. Commercial customers may enter agreements with solar developers for installation of the systems, which may include financing, lease-purchase and rooftop property leasing.
The energy output of the solar system goes directly to Utilities’ electric grid “in front of the billing meter” and system owners are paid based on their PPA. The agreement does not alter the customer’s electric bill. This arrangement is commonly known within the solar industry as a feed-in-tariff or “FIT” model. The PPAs also convey the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)—the right to claim the renewable energy attributes of a project—to Utilities to reach community clean energy goals.
The solar projects from this program will help Utilities’ meet its renewable energy goal for 2020. In addition, the locally produced renewable energy supports the community’s Climate Action Plan and Energy Policy greenhouse gas reduction goals while supporting local investment.
City Council authorized funding for the program.