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30 MW Concentrating PV System Planned for Colorado

|Includes: Xcel Energy Inc (XEL)

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Cogentrix Energy LLC has entered into a contract with Public Service Company of Colorado (PSCo), an Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) build a 30 megawatts (MW) concentrating photovoltaic (PV) power plant near Alamosa, in southern Colorado.

The project will be the largest power plant of its type in the world and is expected to be completed in 2Q12.

The solar power generating facility will use concentrating photovoltaic (NYSE:CPV) systems supplied by Amonix, Inc.

CPV technology uses optics to focus large amounts of sunlight onto high efficiency photovoltaic cells. As a result, CPV solar is more efficient, producing more energy per acre than other solar technology. 

CPV has yet to capture much of the solar market, as it is more expensive to produce. But now that traditional photovoltaics are reaching the ceiling of their energy conversion efficiencies, CPV is one possible path to reaching higher output levels. The technology is particularly well-suited for utility-scale applications in sunny and dry climates.

Earlier this year, Amonix completed a high-profile series B funding round of $130 million and established a manufacturing facilities in Nevada and Arizona.

The Alamosa system will produce up to 30,000 kilowatts of solar energy for the customers of Xcel Energy, providing enough electricity for approximately 6,500 homes. The facility will be located on approximately 225 acres of land in the San Luis Valley of Colorado immediately adjacent to the existing transmission system of Xcel Energy.

Cogentrix has finalized local permits and is currently in the process of securing financing for the project. Construction on the facility is expected to commence in 1Q11. It is anticipated that the project will begin providing electricity in 2Q12 under terms of a 20-year contract with Xcel Energy.

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Cogentrix currently has in excess of 300 MW of renewable generation in advanced development in addition to numerous projects in its longer term development pipeline effort.

Cogentrix is a subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS).

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