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Unico Solar Investors Break Ground on Denver Community Solar Gardens

Feb. 1, 2021
The four gardens will total 8-megawatts (MW) and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 206,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to burning 227,400,000 pounds of coal.

UX Solar, a joint-venture partnership between Excelsior Energy Capital (Excelsior) and Unico Solar Investors LLC (Unico Solar), along with co-development partner Namasté Solar, announced the groundbreaking on four new community solar gardens in the Denver metro area, totaling 8-megawatts (MW) of capacity. In 2019, Xcel Energy selected Unico Solar and Namasté Solar to develop and build the new community solar gardens.

"At Unico Solar, we're committed to expediting Colorado's transition to a clean energy future," said Adam Knoff, associate director and co-founder of Unico Solar, in the press release. "Thanks to strong partnerships with Excelsior, Namasté Solar and Xcel, we're helping to realize that future by providing an alternative source of electricity for communities across the Denver metro area. We look forward to identifying additional opportunities to advance and scale the use of clean energy within the commercial, industrial and residential real estate sectors."

While previous projects through this program have primarily served the public sector, this first-of-its-kind community solar project will operate on a mixed subscription-based model, providing large-scale access to solar energy for both residential and private commercial customers. Seventy-five percent of the renewable power will be provided to 16 buildings owned by Unico Properties in Boulder and Denver. The remaining 25% will be sold to residential customers.

UX Solar will lease a total of 1.7 million square feet (or 40 acres) between the four sites. Each site is expected to generate 3,649,327 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, totaling 291,946,179 kWh over the 20-year contract term with Xcel Energy. The solar electricity generation will reduce carbon emissions by approximately 206,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to burning 227,400,000 pounds of coal.

"We are excited to have received these awards in the 2019 Community Solar*Rewards Program amongst a competitive field," said Jason Sharpe, co-owner and CEO at Namasté Solar, in the release. "The Namaste Solar team brought 15 years of local experience in Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards programs to this portfolio which proved invaluable over the last year of development. Now, having broken ground, we look forward to leveraging our in-house designs and employee-owner lead construction team to build high quality, reliable systems and bring more renewable energy to our local communities."

These community solar gardens work toward Colorado's overall goal to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2040, as set forth by Governor Jared Polis's HB-1003, the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act, which makes it easier for the state's residents to access clean energy.The new sites are part of a 250 MW portfolio of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects being built by Unico Solar and Excelsior across North America. The sites will sell clean electricity to a diversified mix of consumers, including commercial businesses, property owners, municipalities, educational institutions, entertainment facilities, utilities, and other electricity customers under long-term power purchase agreements.

To learn more about Unico Solar Investors, please visit unicosolar.com.