Cogentrix Energy LLC, a leading electric power generation project development company, announced August 9 that it has entered into a contract with Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), an Xcel Energy company, for a solar generating project to be located near Alamosa in southern Colorado. The 30,000 kilowatt solar generating project will be the largest facility of its type in the world and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012.
“Our focus has always been on developing quality power generation facilities that deliver reliable power to our customers," said Tom Bonner, president of Cogentrix Energy. "We're pleased that our Alamosa Solar Generating project continues in that tradition. We have enjoyed a long relationship with Xcel Energy with other electric generating projects on their system and are excited at the opportunity to now be in position to assist them in meeting their renewable portfolio requirements.”
The solar power generating facility will use concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems supplied by Amonix, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacture of CPV systems. Amonix CPV technology uses optics and a dual-axis tracking system to focus large amounts of sunlight onto very high efficiency photovoltaic cells. As a result, CPV solar is more efficient, producing more energy per acre than any other solar technology making it well suited for utility-scale applications in sunny and dry climates. The system will produce up to 30,000 kilowatts of solar energy for the customers of Xcel Energy, providing enough electricity for approximately 6,500 homes.
The facility will be located on approximately 225 acres of land in the San Luis Valley of Colorado immediately adjacent to the existing transmission system of Xcel Energy. The San Luis Valley of Colorado, with a high altitude and abundant sunshine, is one of the best locations for solar energy production in the United States.
Cogentrix has finalized local permits and is currently in the process of securing financing for the project. Construction on the facility is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2011. It is anticipated that the project will begin providing electricity in the second quarter of 2012 under terms of a 20-year contract with Xcel Energy.
Robert Mancini, CEO of Cogentrix and a managing director of Goldman Sachs, added, "It has become apparent that cleaner and more sustainable electric power generation is going to become a larger component of the nation’s energy mix and Cogentrix is excited to be at the forefront of this evolution.”
Cogentrix is focused on the development of renewable power, primarily solar photovoltaic and concentrating photovoltaic technologies. The Company believes solar power has tremendous potential for becoming a more significant part of the future U.S. electric generation supply. Technological advancements, falling raw material costs, efficiency improvements in the manufacturing of the components for solar generating plants and state and federal incentives and regulatory mandates are expected to result in a large and attractive market for solar power. Cogentrix currently has in excess of 300 MW of renewable generation in advanced development, in addition to numerous projects in its longer term development pipeline effort.
“Contracting for this solar installation in the San Luis Valley is another step in our continued commitment to add solar to Xcel Energy’s renewable portfolio in Colorado. Photovoltaic and solar generation have a better match to our peak load than does other intermittent renewables like wind,” said Tom Imbler, Xcel Energy vice president, commercial operations.
Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Cogentrix is a recognized leader in the independent power industry for its proven capabilities in meeting regulatory and commercial commitments. The company has offices in Virginia and California in addition to the corporate offices in Charlotte. Cogentrix is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis.