Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Providers Join Forces
by Watch Staff
Oct 31, 2012 | 1032 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE SMPA COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM is located on seven acres in the northeast corner of the Paradox Valley along U.S. Hwy. 90, approximately 15 miles west of Naturita. When completed, it will provide enough electricity to power roughly 220 homes within SMPA's service territory. (Photo courtesy of Clean Energy Collective and Martifer Solar USA)
THE SMPA COMMUNITY SOLAR FARM is located on seven acres in the northeast corner of the Paradox Valley along U.S. Hwy. 90, approximately 15 miles west of Naturita. When completed, it will provide enough electricity to power roughly 220 homes within SMPA's service territory. (Photo courtesy of Clean Energy Collective and Martifer Solar USA)
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CARBONDALE – Energy efficiency services delivered through the San Miguel Power Partners program will be accessible to a greater number of people, thanks to a new program launched by solar garden developer Clean Energy Collective and SMPP community partners  the Telluride Foundation, the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology  and San Miguel Power Association. The cooperative effort will provide funding to energy efficiency programs earmarked for low income individuals or families in west San Miguel or west Montrose counties. International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology

CEC will donate $250, the cost of one energy efficiency audit, to SMPP when the Telluride Foundation, iCAST or SMPA sell solar panels in the Community Solar Array, a cooperative solar facility located in southwest Colorado.

The one-megawatt community-owned solar project, sited  along U.S. Highway 90 in the northeast corner of Paradox Valley, serves all or parts of Ouray, San Juan, San Miguel, Montrose, Mesa, Hinsdale and Dolores counties.

SMPA customers can purchase solar panels in the community array and get credit for the power directly on their utility bill as if the system were built on their home or business. In addition to cheaper, cleaner power, those who also support the SMPP energy efficiency program will also help area residents improve their energy efficiency and lower their costs.

The idea for the program came when Telluride Foundation President Paul Major considered how two distinct environmental markets – energy efficiency/retrofit services and SMPA’s community solar garden program – could work together toward a common goal. ”This is a win-win for the residents of the region,” said Major. “Combining the new renewable source through the solar array and the energy efficiency retrofit program make more programs available and accessible to more individuals and families.”

According to CEC chief operating officer Thomas Sweeney, customers must purchase a minimum of 16 solar panels, which is still well below the average system size. “We have had a number of Foundation donors approach us to voice their support for the program and to signal their interest in providing energy efficiency audits for other members of the community,” Sweeney said.

“This is another example of how the renewable energy and energy efficiency communities can work together for the benefit of the people they serve,” said iCAST founder and president Ravi Malhotra. “CEC will help iCAST serve a segment of the SMPA membership base who would not have been able to fully participate in the SMPP Energy Efficiency program – even though they can benefit from these services the most.”

In addition to the SMPA Community Array, CEC has partnered with six other utilities and has 14 shared solar projects operating or under construction, representing more than 5,300 kW of community-sited solar PV.

Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is a developer of community-based renewable energy facilities and a national leader in community power generation. CEC pioneered the model of delivering clean power-generation through large-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. The CEC's proprietary RemoteMeter® system automatically calculates monthly credits and integrates with existing utility billing systems, enabling all utility customers to easily have clean, renewable power credited directly on their monthly utility bills, without modifying their home or office. www.easycleanenergy.com

Those interested learning more can contact Kristin Kuhlman at (970) 708-0985 or kristinkuhlman@cleanenergycollective.com.

iCAST's mission is to provide economic, environmental, and social benefits to communities in a manner that builds local capacity. iCAST services range from home energy reviews and retrofitting houses to conducting full-scale commercial energy audits for businesses. iCAST also provides energy efficiency education to children, families, and underserved communities in an effort to further build awareness for all on the ways that we can reduce energy consumption together. www.icastusa.org

The Telluride Foundation is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grantmaker, the Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.

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