Colorado to install 4GW of solar capacity by 2030

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An operational solar project in Colorado. Image: Pivot Energy.

Colorado will add 4GW of utility solar by 2030 while there was 1.96GW of solar projects under development as of mid-2023, according to a recent study from the American Clean Power Association (ACP).

In the Clean Energy Powers Colorado report, the ACP said Colorado will see a 136% increase in renewables capacity by 2030, adding a total of 9.5GW to its grid. Of the increased capacity, Colorado will add 4GW of solar, 4.25GW of land-based power and 1.25GW battery storage to its grid.

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As of July 2023, about 2.32GW of utility-scale clean energy capacity was under development, with solar accounting for approximately 1.95GW, equivalent to 84% of the total amount. Only 321MW (14%) of wind and 45MW (2%) of storage projects were under development.

In total, the expected capital investment by 2030 will reach US$12 billion.

However, solar capacity only accounted for a small portion of Colorado’s clean energy capacity as of July 2023. Of the total clean energy capacity of 6,982MW, solar only accounted for 1,551MW (22.2%), far behind wind’s total capacity of 5,194MW (74.4%). Storage’s capacity was only 237MW, 3.4% of the total clean energy capacity in Colorado.

Colorado has seen US$13.6 billion in private sector investments to date, with the majority
invested in wind energy. Wind and solar currently provide over 33% of the state’s electricity.

Moreover, there are 12 operating manufacturing facilities in Colorado, with solar offering 6,408 jobs as of the fourth quarter of 2022. Previously, Indian module manufacturer Vikram Solar formed a joint venture (JV) with private equity firm Phalanx Impact Partners and venture capital company Das & Co. to develop a vertically integrated solar manufacturing operation in the US.

The newly formed JV – named VSK Energy – will invest up to US$1.5 billion in two phases of construction, with the first phase consisting of a module assembly plant in Brighton, Colorado, with a US$250 million investment. Operations are expected to start in 2024 with an initial annual capacity of 2GW with a planned expansion of up to 4GW of annual capacity.

Meanwhile in July, Switzerland-headquartered module manufacturer Meyer Burger announced a plan to build a solar cell plant in Colorado with an initial annual capacity of 2GW.

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