Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley is sowing some palatable solar insights in the communities of Carbondale, Aspen, Vail and Eagle this weekend. The region’s Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is showcasing the nation’s first community-owned solar garden, the Mid-Valley solar array.
Sited on otherwise unusable land owned by the Mid-Valley Metropolitan District, the Mid-Valley solar array features 340 solar modules that collectively boast 77.7 kW of available renewable energy production capacity to offset the energy demands of those in neighboring communities who buy into the program.
Colorado is on the front lines of legislation and execution of the ground-breaking solar farm model, which began delivering power to members in El Jebel, Colorado in August. The Clean Energy Collective is a member-owned cooperative venture that builds, operates and maintains large-scale community-based facilities that deliver clean, renewable energy to community-based owner/members within specific utility service territories.
Both year-round and seasonal residents of the Roaring Fork Valley are qualified to buy individual portions of the array for as little as $725 per panel, or $3.15 per kW. Local utility coop Holy Cross Energy will then credit members’ utility bills directly each month at the rate of $0.11/kWh. Compensation is commensurate with how many solar modules each member owns in the community garden array. The owners of this community owned solar garden have essentially turned grey dirt into pay dirt as they create a more sustainable energy future.