The IREA Board of Directors voted in May to approve a power purchase agreement with GCL New Energy to develop an 80-megawatt, utility-scale solar project in the association’s service territory, near the town of Bennett.

Under the terms of the agreement, IREA will purchase the renewable energy from the facility at a fixed amount lower than the utility’s avoided cost, which is what the association would otherwise pay for the same amount of energy from other sources. The agreement locks in the price IREA will pay for the power for a period of 10 years, with three opportunities to renew the agreement for additional five-year terms at the association’s avoided cost at the time of renewal.

The project will provide energy at a lower cost than IREA would otherwise pay and will help ensure that IREA meets the renewable energy standards mandated by state law. In 2013, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 13-252, requiring that 20% of the energy IREA provides to its members by the year 2020 be generated from renewable energy resources.