To expand its reach to more customers, Black Hills Energy is seeking a community solar expansion on one of its solar gardens. The expansion’s announcement came after a request for a 2.5-megawatt addition was submitted by the energy company. With the increased output, Black Hills is aiming to improve its service to Southern Colorado customers.
Included in the expansion is 500-kilowatts of electricity designated explicitly for low-income subscribers. As with most community solar programs, the Black Hills project intends to make solar energy more accessible to residents. The 500-kilowatt community solar expansion will allow the program to reach a wider customer range and provide savings to more individuals.
If the community solar expansion is approved, Black Hills will close out 2021 with a capacity of 12.6-megawatts in Southern Colorado. Low-income customers will have exclusive access to 2.5-megawatts of that output. According to Black Hills, the total figure is enough to generate power to approximately 2,800 homes.
Black Hills renewable energy manager, Devin Moeller, discussed the benefits of the expansion. As he explains, the request’s approval will make solar energy more accessible to customers who can’t afford or don’t have the space for rooftop solar panels. Typically without panels, a home would not be able to partake in any solar energy. Community solar programs create new opportunities for these residents.
When Black Hills explained its community solar program, the company stated that homeowners can buy shares of the facility. In return, they’ll receive monthly credits on their power bill. The amount of the credit depends on how many shares they purchased.
Currently, Black Hills Energy has one active program. It has two additional projects planned for Otero and Crowley counties with a total capacity of more than 1,300-kilowatts. The energy company is seeking subscriptions for all three solar gardens, even those that aren’t currently active.