Southern Utes Strike Solar Plant Deal

The Southern Ute Indian tribe plans to build a solar plant that will power about 10 tribal buildings in the capital of their Colorado reservation.

The Durango Herald reports that the tribe recently struck a deal with the La Plata Electric Association, just in time to meet an end-of-the-year deadline to use a $1.5 million Department of Energy grant.

The grant covers nearly 50 percent of the project's costs. Southern Ute Indian Tribe Growth Fund operating director Bob Zahradnik says the plant won't be up and running before the year ends, but the tribe got an extension to finish negotiating.

The agreement will let the tribe lease some of the LPEA's distribution lines to transmit electricity from the solar plant.

The next steps are to finalize the site, complete designs and pass an engineering review.