LOVELAND — Boulder-based Namasté Solar will begin construction next month on a 3.5 megawatt ground-mounted solar array for the city of Loveland.
The array will replace the Idylwilde hydroelectric facility, which was damaged during a major flood in September 2013.
Site-grading began in April and construction on the solar array is scheduled to begin in mid-June.
The Idylwilde Dam, originally commissioned in 1925, sustained significant damage from the flooding and was deemed a total loss and later demolished.
The Foothills Solar and Substation project is the first electric-generating facility in the United States to receive approval through the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s Alternate Project process.
In 2014, the city of Loveland was awarded $9 million in FEMA grant funding to construct an alternate project to replace the dam. About $5 million of that funding will cover the construction of the solar array on 52 acres located west of the city, purchased by Loveland Water and Power. The remaining $4.1 million will be used to construct a substation on the site, built in conjunction with the Platte River Power Authority, Loveland’s generation and transmission provider.
“We are extremely excited that we were able to navigate the FEMA Alternate Project process and that our customers are getting more for their dollar than we anticipated,” Gretchen Stanford, customer relations manager for Loveland Water and Power, said in a prepared statement. “This was a very creative way for us to reach the Colorado renewable energy standard requirements of 10 percent renewables by 2020 as well as put off capital expenditure we anticipated in future years.”
Loveland Power and Water will provide monthly time-lapse video construction updates at cityofloveland.org/foothills.