SMPA Pursues Community Solar Project
by Watch Staff
Sep 15, 2011 | 1201 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NUCLA – San Miguel Power Association has chosen the Clean Energy Collective of Carbondale, Colo., to pursue negotiations for a community solar project within the co-op’s service territory, and the two organizations are now working to develop a one-megawatt, community-owned solar facility.

“The Clean Energy Collective brought everything to the table that SMPA was looking for. They have experience working with other electric cooperatives and specialize in community solar projects,” said SMPA General Manager Kevin Ritter.

Community solar projects, or solar gardens, offer many advantages over traditional private installations. Currently, members who are interested in solar generation must install panels on their individual homes or businesses. This limits the participation of renters and members with poor solar locations. Community projects, on the other hand, are located on ideal sites with excellent sun exposure. The member incurs no operation or maintenance costs; the installations are more affordable than traditional private solar installations.

“We are very excited to be chosen as SMPA’s partner for community solar and look forward to offering all SMPA customers the opportunity to benefit from community solar ownership,” said Clean Energy Collective’s President and Founder Paul Spencer.

SMPA members can buy into the solar garden by purchasing one or more of the solar panels, and receive a monthly monetary credit for the energy produced by their panel(s). The Clean Energy Collective will be evaluating potential sites for the project and working with SMPA staff members to finalize contract details. The Clean Energy Collective has committed to utilizing as many local businesses and solar installers as possible during project construction.

“It was also important to us that the Clean Energy Collective demonstrate a commitment to our local community and our local businesses. Solar projects like the one we’re looking at will require sub-contractors for groundwork, solar panel sales, and panel installation. And, we hope to involve as many local businesses as possible,” said Ritter.

The Clean Energy Collective is a developer of community-based renewable energy facilities and a leader in community power generation. The Colorado-based company is pioneering the model of delivering clean power-generation through large-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. The CEC’s proprietary system automatically calculates monthly credits and integrates with existing utility billing systems, enabling residential and commercial utility customers to have clean, renewable power credited on their monthly utility bills, without modifying their home or office. To learn more, go to

Bosom Buddies Weekend Oct. 7-8

MONTROSE – Montrose Memorial Hospital presents the 19th Annual “One Step Closer to Help and Hope” 5K Walk and 5 & 10K Run, Oct. 7-8, complete with the new-this-year 12-mile bike ride. 

On Friday, Oct. 7, a Bosom Buddies Wine Tasting and Silent and Live Auction will be held at the Holiday Inn Express, beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

The Oct. 8 walk/run/bike begins at 9 a.m. (registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Montrose Pavilion). The cost for the event is $25 ($30 on the day of the event), which includes a long sleeve T-shirt. Registration forms are available at Montrose Memorial Hospital, City Markets, Safeway, Curves, KUBC, San Juan Cancer Center, Cascade Bicycles and online at  

The inaugural cycling event starts and finishes at the Pavilion in conjunction with the run/walk. It covers a gently rolling course suitable for recreational riders. A map of the course will be available the day of the event and sag support will be offered by Cascade Bicycles. Please wear a helmet.

All money raised during these events stays in Western Colorado to help those who have been touched by breast cancer. If you are unable to attend and would like to send a donation to this year’s annual fundraiser, please send it to Bosom Buddies, P.O. Box 1263, Montrose, CO  81402.

Day Care Dash Fundraiser for Childcare


TELLURIDE – Get some exercise and support a great cause on Saturday, September 17 at 9 a.m., at the 4.2 mile Day Care Dash, which starts at the softball fields in Lawson Hill, follows the bike and ends at Elks Park. A kids’ fair will follow the race, with everything from a bouncy castle to face-painting, tattoos, snow cone machine and games. Race entry is $20 per person. Registration forms are available at Rockies, Rainbow Preschool and Rascals or email Participants may also register the morning of the race at 8:15. a.m. at the Lawson Hill softball fields. Entry fee to the kid’s carnival is $5 per child. All monies raised support scholarship programs. 

For more information, call Annie Carlson at 970/729-0713.

Funds for Energy Rebates


TELLURIDE – The Governor's Energy Office is currently offering rebates for the following energy efficiency measures: Furnaces, Insulation and Air Sealing, Energy Audits, Duct Sealing, Energy Monitors, and Energy Star Homes. Rebates must be reserved by October 1. Details and GEO contact information are available at; enter zip code and project information in the Energy Action Planner on right side of home page. 

Local electricity and natural gas utilities San Miguel Power Association (SMPA) and SourceGas also offer appliance, energy efficiency, and renewable energy rebates. Find updates on these local rebate opportunities at (appliance, lighting and renewable energy project rebates are available from the list on the left side of the home page) and at 

Save these websites on your computer for ongoing information about energy efficiency and renewable energy rebate and grant programs. For more information, call The New Community Coalition Community Energy Coordinator Kim Wheels at (970) 728-5208, email or visit

Hilltop’s Domestic Violence Programs Receive

$30,000 Grant Award from the Daniels Fund


MESA, DELTA, MONTROSE AND OURAY COUNTIES – Hilltop’s Domestic Violence Programs, made up of Latimer House and Tri-County Resources, received a $30,000 grant award from the Daniels Fund. Hilltop’s Domestic Violence Programs assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mesa, Delta, Montrose, and Ouray counties. The programs share the mission of taking clients from crisis to confidence by helping them achieve goals associated with living a violence free life. Program services include three emergency shelters, case management, individual and group counseling, children’s services, transitional housing, and 24-hour crisis lines in all counties.  

Hilltop’s Domestic Violence Programs strive to provide safety and improve the quality of life for individuals in abusive situations, which results in self-sufficiency and a healthier community. In addition to providing emergency shelter, case management, advocacy, and counseling, program staff assists clients in regaining emotional stability and creating future goals.

Daniels Fund support in the amount of $30,000 will directly support direct emergency shelter services. Funding will provide women and children with emergency shelter, meals, case management, transitional housing, life skills training, and group-counseling sessions – the tools needed to empower them to achieve better lives for themselves and their families.
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