By Dillon Thomas

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – The City of Fort Collins continued its effort to operate on 100% renewable energy by 2030 with the recent opening of their Solinator Garden. “Solinator” combines a solar farm and a pollinator field to better the environment in Northern Colorado.

Solinator Garden in Fort Collins unveiled. (credit: CBS)

Thousands of solar panels, costing more than $2 million, were installed in a filed between College and Lemay Avenues along Trilby Road. The solar array will generate one megawatt of energy, completely powering more than 200 homes every year.

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Below the panels, which rotate to follow the sun throughout the day, seeding was laid to pollinate the property with native grasses and flowers.

(credit: CBS)

“This is very much a project of Fort Collins,” said Wade Troxell, Mayor of Fort Collins. “This fits in to the city of Fort Collins in many ways.”

Fort Collins partnered with local company Solaris Energy to build the solar array.

“It’s been about two years in development,” said Alex Blackmer, CEO of Solaris Energy. “The whole economy is transitioning to renewable energy, so we want to be a part of that.”

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(credit: CBS)

Energy created by the array will be sent back into the power grid and dispersed to residents throughout the city.

“Everybody gets a little piece of the energy, so that is kind of cool,” Blackmer said. “We’ve planted the entire six acres with pollinator friendly species. Wild flowers and native grasses. We’re hoping to have some good pollinator habitat and put some bee hives out here so we can have some honey. ‘Sun honey,’ as I like to think of it.”

(credit: CBS)

In a city with more than 65,000 households, the solar array is just one step toward the goal of powering the entire city with renewable energy.

“We’re committed to a renewable future, and this is very much a part of that,” Troxell told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “This is really representative of Fort Collins.”

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Namasté Solar developed, designed and built the project.

Dillon Thomas