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Colorado Ski Area First To Be Fully Solar Powered

09. July 2018
Wolf Creek Ski Area is situated in one of the snowiest areas of Colorado. Up to now the resort has been receiving much of its power from a combination of wind and traditional coal fired plants. But that is about to change.

The ski area is located 50 miles from the state’s Penitente Solar Project where power began being produced at the end of last year. The plant can produce 7,000 megawatt-hours per year and has been labeled by US National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2005 as “one of the premier sites for photovoltaic in the country.” Together with Wolf Creek it has been found that the resort only requires about 1,000 megawatts for the 7'000 produced. As such the resort is making the switch.

“We have a pretty direct relation to global warming. If it continues to warm, there’s more rain, less snow. People don’t ski on rain,” Davey Pitcher, Wolf Creek’s CEO, told local media, adding, “It really should be green. It’s not a hospital. People are just goofing off on the mountains. We really should be able to figure out a way to goof off without burning carbon.”

The switch to green energy comes as nothing new to the snow sports industry. According to ski resort research body more than 50 of the world’s leading ski areas are 100% renewable energy fuelled, with many of them generating their own green power and in some cases exporting excess green energy generated to the grid. So far these resorts have mainly used hydro and in some cases wind power, but not wholly solar. This trend will however soon change.

Increasingly more and more resorts are finding ways to switch to the suns energy source. Some noteable cases include indoor ski centres in the Netherlands and Germany who have installed a hundreds of panels on roofs and are able to subsidize most of their energy requirements on sunny days. Others, like Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows in California will take advantge of batteries being manufactured 70 miles away at Tesla’s “gigafactory” near Reno. Coupled with decreasing prices for photovoltaic and solar is becoming an accessible source for many.

For more information on Wolf Creek visit:
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