The unbearably hot weather is not all bad.
By Sam Levin
This was the recurring joke of a press conference under the blazing sun just off toll road E-470, where officials announced the launch of a twenty-year solar energy project that, by some measures, is the largest of its kind in the country.
It’s a big investment that officials think will be quite successful due to the local climate. This logic was of course underscored by the hot, hot sun, ninety-degree-plus temperature, and clear blue sky at E-470′s Toll Plaza C in Aurora, where a small crowd gathered for the unveiling of a new solar energy partnership.
Representatives of E-470, a 47-mile toll highwaythat runs along the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area, announced that they have installed solar panels that will power a significant portion of a seventeen-mile stretch of the road. The project is expected to save more than $1 million and significantly reduce local emissions.
“If you listen closely, you can hear 1,116 solar panels cooking in the sun,” said Walt Arnason, manager of operations with E-740.
What’s interesting about this project is that thoroughfare — run by the E-470 Public Highway Authority, a political subdivision of the state — didn’t actually have to invest any money to make it happen.
As it turns out, it’s also the largest solar power purchase agreement across the country for a toll road. There’s one other toll road that has a similar solar setup, and it’s also in Colorado. MORE …