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October 25, 2014

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City Council set to vote on lease for solar power company

The Boulder City Council will decide on April 14 whether to lease the remainder of the Eldorado Valley Energy Zone to a solar power company.

The city has been in talks with NextLight Renewable Power LLC, a California company, for a 40-year lease on 1,100 acres.

If the council approves the lease, the city should sign a contract with NextLight by May, City Manager Vicki Mayes said. She said the city doesn’t have an agreement prepared yet but will present the “deal points” to the council at the meeting for signing at a future meeting.

NextLight has proposed building a 100-megawatt photovoltaic plant, which would open in 2011, said James Woodruff, the company’s vice president of regulatory and government affairs.

The land lease could bring the city about $2.4 million the first year of construction, Mayes said.

NextLight promised to provide Boulder City three megawatts of power at 90 percent of commercial rates if it builds there, Mayes said.

NextLight also is studying the dry lake bed for the possibility of expanding the lease to include some acreage there. Woodruff said civil engineering studies would determine what would need to be done to the land to build a plant there.

“We haven’t reached any fatal-flaw conclusions,” he said.

Two other solar companies also are studying the area. By mid-year, if companies have determined the area buildable, the city will open bids for a lease there.

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