Garnet Mesa solar farm receives Delta County limited use permit to proceed in Colorado

Published on August 25, 2022 by Chris Galford

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An 80 MW agrivoltaic solar farm sought by Guzman Energy won approval from the Delta County Board of Commissioners in Colorado last week, allowing the Garnet Mesa project to proceed with installation and operation start-up.

The project, situated in southern Delta County, was unanimously granted a limited use permit by the commission. Now, teams from wholesale power provider Guzman Energy will pivot to the engineering and procurement of the project, with construction resource and timing details to follow. When complete, Garnet Mesa will produce more than 194,000 MW hours of electricity annually, a portion of which will be directly purchased by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA). The remainder will be used as a power supply for additional wholesale customers of Guzman Electric.

“We are thrilled with the Delta County Board of Commissioners’ unanimous decision to approve the limited use permit to install and operate the Garnet Mesa Solar project. We are grateful for the time and attention the community and County officials gave to the process,” Robin Lunt, Chief Strategy Officer at Guzman Energy, said.

The solar farm will help the DMEA achieve approximately 20 percent of its local power generation while providing the area with an estimated $13 million in property taxes over 15 years. Guzman Energy, DMEA, and Citra Power will collaborate on the project. Additionally, the project will allow for affected land to still be used as irrigated grazing land for approximately 1,000 sheep, providing both agricultural and energy benefits simultaneously.

“With the Commissioners’ approval, we are one step closer to securing a significant amount of local affordable energy. Together, with Guzman Energy, we are driving rate stability for our members,” said Kent Blackwell, interim CEO and Chief Technology Officer at DMEA. “We are confident Garnet Mesa Solar will be a premier example of agriculture and energy co-existing together.”