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A Native American tribe is building a $1B solar farm in Colorado

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is going to build the Sun Bear Solar Project, one of the US’s largest solar farms, in Colorado.

The up to 971 megawatt (MW) solar farm will sit on around 4,000 acres of Ute Mountain Ute tribal land, nine miles south of the tribe’s capital, Towaoc, in southwestern Colorado. Sun Bear will be around eight miles long and one mile wide and will feature 2.2 million solar panels. It’s also expected to create up to 1,000 construction jobs, 10-50 full-time jobs, and revenue for the tribe.

Tribal officials are working with global renewable energy developer Canigou Group to plan the Sun Bear solar farm, which will cost more than $1 billion.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is currently reviewing the project’s environmental assessment. Construction is expected to kick off later this year, and Sun Bear is scheduled to come online in 2026. The solar farm will connect to the Western Area Power Administration power line, but who the electricity will be sold to has yet to be determined.

Ute Mountain Ute chairman Manuel Heart said about the Sun Bear project at a public consultation meeting on February 9 [via KSUT], “We, as the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, had been a fossil fuel tribe with oil and gas for a long time, probably over 50 years. Today, with the changes in legislation, global warming, and climate change, you can see the impact of what’s happening to our world. So renewable is the new future right now.”

Read more: The US’s largest solar + battery storage project just came online


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