Fort Collins and Clean Energy Collective officials break ground. From left to right: CEC COO Tom Sweeney, Fort Collins Utilities Executive Director Kevin Gertig, Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat, Fort Collins resident Lynn Richards, Fort Collins City Council Member Bob Overbeck, Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich. 

(Photo: Courtesy Clean Energy Collective)

Fort Collins broke ground Tuesday on a community solar array. The project will bring an estimated 2,000 panels online so that people can buy in and own a portion.

Original plans called for a 330 kW system, but the final size was nearly doubled due to customer demand. Clean Energy Collective, which is the fastest growing solar company in the country, will run the project.

It will be one of several the city is adopting to meet aggressive climate action plan goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent before 2030.

“This will be the opportunity for people who can’t access solar in their own homes to buy into the program,” Mayor Karen Weitkunat said. “Already we’ve sold out 60 to 65 percent of that before we’ve even begun construction.”

Fort Collins is part of the Platte River Power Authority, which will build a 185-acre solar farm north of the Rawhide Energy Station near Wellington. This year, PRPA started paying $14 million for 28 megawatts of energy generated by a wind farm in Logan County.