Near Mosca, Colorado, you might notice matching rows of solar panels instead of rows of corn or potatoes. Thats because Sun Edison Solar has invested and built a 8.24 megawatt solar power plant to harvest the rays of the sun in central Colorado.
To get a better understanding of this solar production, the Sangre de Cristo Group sponsored a tour of the plant for its members. Fifteen Sierra Clubbers strolled around the 82-acre sun farm in the San Luis Valley.
The power plant uses three kinds of solar panels: stationary panels (fixed-mount array) that are adjusted quarterly; single-axis tracking panels that move in an arch to follow the daily path of the sun; and dual-axis tracking panels that not only move in an arch but also move in a circle.
Joe Valdez, manager of the Mosca plant and gracious tour host, explained that the double-axis panels are by far the most complicated panels on site and one of the most revolutionary. Panel parts fly in from Germany where they are made and then assembled on site. Because the panels manoeuvre continuously, they need to be well-lubricated and constantly watched.Xcel Energy buys the power supplied from this new sunny installation which will help Xcel meet Amendment 37 demands. Investor- owned utilities must obtain at least 20% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020.
Now, the San Luis Valley boasts the Sand Dunes, UFO Watchtower, Gator Farm and the future of energy production!
Photo: Joe Valdez, Plant Manager