GJ council eyes Xcel proposal
 for solar project

The city of Grand Junction could save nearly $100,000 over two decades and switch to using a little more green energy if it moves forward on plans for a 2-megawatt solar farm in Pear Park.

The project to be initiated and run by Xcel Energy and Ecoplexus may be located on a combination of 14 acres of vacant land owned by the city of Grand Junction and School District 51 near D Road and 29 1/2 roads.

“The only loss is the use of the land,” said Kathy Portner, neighborhood services manager for the city. “Other than visually, there really aren’t any impacts.”

Grand Junction city councilors were notified of the proposal during a meeting last week. Councilors will have to decide in the coming weeks whether they will approve the use of the city’s four acres for the solar farm.

Councilor Sam Susuras said he would wait on that decision until he heard from nearby residents of the proposed farm.

“A large part of my vote will depend on the neighbors, whether they support this,” he said at the meeting.

Neighbors in the Pear Park area will be invited to meetings to gauge their interest in the project.

Energy generated at the solar farm would be divided up among subscribers, including School District 51 and Colorado Mesa University, and a dedicated 5 percent is slated for low-income housing.

If approved, construction is expected to occur next summer for about three months and create up to 20 jobs, according to a city report.

There will be no noise or glare involved with the system, the report said.

The panels that measure 6 to 8 feet long would stand about 3 to 4 feet parallel to the ground. The panels track the sun’s rays. After the 20-year timeline of solar project, the land will be returned to its original condition, the report said.


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