Foothills Site - FEMA Alternate Project

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Foothills Solar


During the flood of the Big Thompson River in September 2013, the City of Loveland sustained significant damage to the Idylwilde hydroelectric facility. The Idylwilde Dam suffered damage to the super structure and the reservoir was completely filled in with silt, sediment and cobbles. Approximately 2,000 feet of the penstock pipe that ran adjacent to the Big Thompson River was destroyed. The Power House was flooded which compromised the electrical equipment within the facility. On January 15, 2015, at Council’s direction, Loveland Water and Power (LWP) submitted two project scopes for the fixed subgrant of $9,068,018 awarded by FEMA from the damage sustained to the Idylwilde Dam and the penstock pipe. One project scope was for the construction of a substation and the second was for the construction of a 3.5 MW solar facility on the same site. These project scopes were approved by the State and FEMA on March 12, 2015. 


  • UPDATE 2/19/2018: The solar field will be offline on Wednesday, March 21st while LWP upgrades equipment in the switchgear building. The work is schedule to take approximately 6-8 hours. The solar field should be operational again on Thursday, March 22nd.  
  • UPDATE 8/30/17: You may notice that the solar panels are NOT moving! The Power crews are working to switch the solar array feeders permanently to the brand new Foothills substation and complete final testing. The solar panels will remain offline until this final work has been completed.
  • You may also notice some clean up on the landscaping, we are still working with the contractor to fix the problems. Thank you for your patience!!!
  • UPDATE 8/4/17: Great news! Foothills Substation went live yesterday without any problems. We officially have a new substation on the west side of Loveland. We have almost completed the FEMA Alternate project which by federal regulations needs to be completed by September 15, 2017. We are officially ahead of schedule! 
  • As you may have seen, we have had some unfortunate landscaping hiccups in the Foothills site area. Staff has been working with the contractors that are responsible and are close to having all the issues resolved. The plan is to have the weeds cut down and sprayed and then they will be reseeding the area. In addition, the irrigation system will be fixed in several areas and managed correctly going forward. We appreciate the communication to staff from residents in the area, we are happy to answer any questions you might have!
  • In addition, one of the last steps we have is to complete the educational area on the west side of Rio Blanco. We are excited to put an amazing educational art piece there that will be visually pleasing yet filled with interesting information.
  • UPDATE 6/9/17: LWP is proud to report that landscaping has begun.
  • UPDATE 6/1/17: Relocation of some underground infrastructure and a backorder of trees has cased a delay on the installation of the landscape. Drip irrigation is currently being installed. Installation of equipment within the substation continues. The lighting masts and transmission H-structures installation is complete.   
  • UPDATE 4/21/17: Construction of the block wall is complete and entrance gates have been installed. Landscape irrigation has been installed. Vegetation installation will begin in the next few weeks.  
  • UPDATE 2/21/17:  Construction of the block wall is nearing completion. Drilling and concrete pouring for equipment foundations has begun and will continue through mid-April. Occasional traffic from semi-trucks delivering equipment can be expected now through end of April. Noise is minimal with it decreasing as the wall construction nears completion.  
  • UPDATE 12/21/16: The final purchase power agreement was approved by City Council at the December 6, 2016 regular meeting and commissioning is complete. Solar panels are operational and the site is currently producing 10% more energy than anticipated for this time of year (approximately 2 MWs). The solar field is capable of producing 3.5 MWs when at full capacity.

Foothills Solar Panel View Foothills Solar Ground View

  • UPDATE 11/30/16: The City of Loveland Parks and Recreation Department has postponed the installation of the landscaping at the Foothills Solar Site because of a seasonal scarcity of plant variety and recent night time freezing temperatures. Parks and Rec, the department that will be installing and maintaining the landscaping, felt the plants would have greater growth potential in the spring.   
  • UPDATE 10/27/16: Walsh Construction has started drilling the support piers for the block wall. The dust and noise should be minimal.  Drilling should be completed by November 4, 2016. However, the construction of the wall will continue through February.
  • CAUTION! Trespassing is not permitted on the Foothills site. This includes foot traffic and vehicles west of 29th, where the pave road ends. The Foothills site is an active construction zone. Construction activities and site conditions may pose a public safety risk.  While the Loveland Police Department has increased monitoring  the property, unwanted activity observed by citizens may be reported to the Loveland Police Department by calling 970-667-2151.

Project Overview: 

FEMA Project Billboard

(click image above to enlarge)

Monthly Time-Lapse: 

Site grading and construction began April 4, 2016. Construction activities have been captured in a time-lapse video series.

    Snake Mitigation:

    The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) has led snake mitigation efforts at the Foothills Solar and Substation Site. These efforts include finding snakes on the site, conducting research studies and analysis about the snakes, as well as relocating the snakes to a new, safe habitat. Loveland Water and Power thanks UNC for their hard work!

      Project Documents:


      Project Timeline: 

      Final Renderings:

      Special Review:

      Environmental Awareness:

      Meadowbrook Ridge General Development Plan:

      Foothills Annexation and Rezoning:

      Foothills Site Development Plan and Special Review:

      Solar Facility:

      Loveland Utilities Commission Items:

      City Council Items:

      Project Videos:

      Miscellaneous Documents:

      For questions regarding the Foothills Site - FEMA Alternate Project, please contact Brieana Reed-Harmel, Senior Electrical Engineer, Loveland Water and Power and Project Manager, at or 970-962-3592.

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