Palisade leases 12 acres for solar farm

Palisade stands to benefit from sunny days, thanks to a new agreement between the town and a 2-megawatt solar array planned for 12 acres near the new Cameo Shooting and Education Complex.

Palisade trustees on Tuesday night unanimously approved leasing town land to Oak Leaf, a solar development firm. The company will place tracking solar panels at the site of a former Xcel Energy solar array at Cameo.

In exchange, Oak Leaf will make annual payments to Palisade, which start at $12,000 the first year and gradually increase to $21,300, for a total of $508,000 over 30 years.

Palisade also will participate as a subscriber to the energy, which will offset a portion of its electricity costs, at an estimated value of $1.4 million over 20 years.

Palisade is not responsible for any upfront costs, according to the deal.

Xcel Energy been a partner with Oak Leaf on several community solar garden projects around Colorado, two in Mesa County, according to Oak Leaf’s information.

The Cameo site was considered an ideal location because of its proximity to Xcel power lines, its former use as a solar farm and its visibility to Interstate 70, Oak Leaf said.

Trustee Thea Chase said she supported the idea because she wanted Palisade to continue looking for ways to reduce its carbon footprint and use more renewable energy when possible.

She also said she wanted the town to consider using the savings from the solar garden to help residents reduce their own energy bills.

“I hope we can look at ways to pass this along to the community,” she said.


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