Colorado Springs Utilities and the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) selected SunPower Corporation to design, build, own and operate a 6.0 megawatt solar array on Academy grounds just off I-25.
The USAFA contracted with Colorado Utilities for the provision of renewable energy through the payment of an $18.3 million connect charge. This project is completely funded by the USAFA and does not impact Colorado Springs Utilities' electric rates. SunPower ensures that the plant’s performance meets or exceeds forecasted output.
Preparation for the project consisted of bringing together a highly skilled team of professionals from Colorado Springs Utilities and USAFA to lay the blueprints for what is one of the largest solar arrays in Colorado. The nearly 14 months of preparation included the writing of a considerably elaborate Request for Proposal (RFP), the completion of an environmental assessment, the improvement of major infrastructure on USAFA grounds and much more.
The solar array is a collection of photovoltaic modules made up of multiple interconnected solar cells. The solar cells convert solar energy, in the form of visible and invisible radiation from the sun, into direct current (DC) power. DC power is converted to alternating current (AC) via a device called an inverter.