Despite the tariff, Platte River leaders say now is the right time to scoop up solar assets. The price of solar power has plummeted in the last decade as manufacturing technology has progressed, and solar tax credits aren’t expected to expire for a few more years.

Decker also attributed the high interest in solar power to environmental consciousness. On the smaller scale, customers like the city of Fort Collins are calling for expanded renewable resources. On the industry-wide scale, regulatory standards like the Clean Power Plan “jump-started” a transition from fossil fuel power to renewable sources, he said.

Decker considers the solar industry about halfway through its growth phase in terms of cost and technological advancement. Battery storage — the other key component of the new solar project — is still in its first chapter, he said.

“Battery storage across the country is not a resource that has been broadly adopted,” he said. “The cost isn’t as competitive as the industry would like, and the technology is relatively untested.”

Batteries are “the missing link” for America’s path from fossil fuels to renewable power, which isn’t available 24-7, Decker said. Utility-scale battery storage will allow power providers to over-produce electricity and store it for later. Utilities could also use batteries to store cheap power purchases and provide extra capacity in case of emergencies.

The total amount of battery storage in the U.S. is roughly equivalent to one-tenth of a percent of the nation’s electricity capacity, Decker said.

“That gives you an idea of how much batteries are contributing to the power system right now and how far they have to go,” he said. “But there’s a bright future, too, because it’s a direct need.”