Xcel Energy, as the electricity provider for the steel mill, will purchase the power generated by the solar facility under a long-term contract with Lightsource bp. The competitive price of solar energy and its long-term budget helps to ensure that the steel mill, along with 1,000 local workers, will remain in Pueblo.
Lightsource bp secured tax equity financing for the project from Bank of America. The debt for the facility was provided by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) and the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. (SMFG).
“We are excited to see Lightsource bp taking the next step toward building the Bighorn Solar project,” says Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy Colorado. “This collaboration between Xcel Energy, EVRAZ North America and Lightsource bp is proof that when innovative companies work together we can create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and support our communities and the environment.”
Construction has mobilized – with the majority of the workers hired locally. In addition to the local economic value that Bighorn Solar is bringing to Pueblo, the project will create approximately 300 direct jobs on-site during the 12 to 14 month construction period.
McCarthy Building Companies was selected by Lightsource bp as their engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project who will install nearly 750,000 Canadian Solar bifacial solar panels on approximately 1,600 acres of land located on the EVRAZ steel mill site with some supplemental land provided by Pueblo and private landowners. McCarthy has a track record of successfully building large utility-scale projects in Colorado and is committed to recruiting and hiring from the local workforce.
Construction has started with commercial operation expected by late 2021.