To be located on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property, the Bighorn Solar project is expected to be operational by the end of 2021

Bighorn Solar project

Image: Xcel Energy to build 240MW Bighorn Solar project in Pueblo. Photo: courtesy of skeeze/Pixabay.

US-based utility Xcel Energy has signed an agreement with EVRAZ North America and Lightsource BP to develop a 240MW solar facility in Pueblo, Colorado.

To be located on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property, the Bighorn Solar project is expected to be operational by the end of 2021.

The largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the US, the project is expected to give EVRAZ a long-term contract that provides the steel mill price certainty through 2041.

Lightsource BP will finance, build, own and operate the Bighorn Solar project. The power generated will be sold to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). Lightsource BP and other investors will provide around $250m (£203m) for the solar facility.

Lightsource BP Americas CEO Kevin Smith said: “Xcel Energy and EVRAZ North America have been excellent partners for Lightsource BP and we look forward to our continued collaboration as we bring this significant project online.

“The project highlights the tremendous potential that Colorado offers for large-scale solar and serves as a creative multi-stakeholder model to meet the increasing demand for affordable, clean energy.”

The solar project is expected to generate 300 jobs during construction, operation, maintenance and asset management. The facility is also expected to contribute more than $22m (£18m) in property tax revenue over the project life, which will benefit local schools, street maintenance fire stations, parks and other community public services.

Xcel Energy Colorado president Alice Jackson said: “We’re thrilled to partner with EVRAZ North America and Lightsource BP, two companies committed to creating innovative solutions, while developing new solar energy sources within the state.

“Working together, we’re benefiting the environment and the local economy by retaining a valued company in southern Colorado.”

The Bighorn Solar project will reduce carbon emissions by 60%

The agreement will be reviewed by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Bighorn Solar facility will deliver 55% renewable energy to the grid by 2026 and reduce carbon emissions by 60%.

The agreement supports the goals of Xcel Energy’s partners and community and also fulfills EVRAZ North America’s planned long-term investment in Colorado.