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Community Solar Garden Planned For Poudre Valley REA
by Staff Writers
Fort Collins CO (SPX) Mar 09, 2012

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Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA), Ft. Collins, CO and the Clean Energy Collective (CEC), Carbondale, CO have entered into an agreement to launch PVREA's first community solar program with a solar garden at the PVREA headquarters site near Windsor.

The facility will provide an opportunity for members of the electric cooperative to purchase solar panels to offset their electric use.

The project will encompass more than 400 solar panels generating 115 kilowatts of electricity. CEC will fund construction of the project, slated for late spring, 2012. Once completed, PVREA consumers may purchase panels for $618 per panel and will receive monthly bill credits for the power produced by their panels. Under the power purchase agreement, the project may be expanded up to 2 megawatts as new members join.

"We are committed to economically incorporating renewable energy initiatives and seeking ways for our consumers to benefit from a more diverse energy portfolio," said Poudre Valley REA CEO Brad Gaskill. "Clean Energy Collective provided a turn-key solution that we can easily integrate and will be attractive for our consumers."

The solar garden concept allows all consumers to participate in renewable energy, including renters, those with poorly sighted properties and individuals of all income levels, without having to build a costly system of their own, and reap the benefits directly on their monthly electric bills through the utility.

"Poudre Valley is an ideal partner for community solar and we look forward to offering all of their consumers the opportunity to benefit from solar ownership," said Paul Spencer, Clean Energy Collective founder and president.

CEC's first two projects with Holy Cross Energy have nearly 1 MW installed and an additional 2.5 MW approved for development. CEC recently partnered with San Miguel Power Association, a western Colorado rural electric co-op, to launch its first 1 MW utility-branded program, and with municipally-owned Colorado Springs Utilities to provide the first-ever opportunity for ownership in a municipal community solar garden.

By the end of 2012, Spencer estimates CEC's community-owned arrays will be providing upwards of 10 MW of energy capacity, with that number eclipsing 100 MW nationally by 2015.

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