Clean Energy Collective gives the San Miguel Power Partners an opportunity to increase their reach to the underserved.
Carbondale, Colo. (October 11, 2012) Energy efficiency services delivered through the San Miguel Power Partners (SMPP) program will be accessible to a greater number of people thanks to a new program announced today by solar garden developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) and SMPP community partners the Telluride Foundation, iCAST and San Miguel Power Association (SMPA). 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.
CEC will donate $250, the cost of one energy efficiency audit, to SMPP when the Telluride Foundation, iCAST or SMPA help 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.
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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-owned 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."
The program is off to a bright start. 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 added.
"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.
The Clean Energy Collective is administering the community solar program for SMPA. SMPA members are eligible to buy into the SMPA Community Solar array by purchasing solar panels. SMPA will directly credit the member's monthly electric bill for the power their panel produces in the community array. Each solar panel is 235 watts, costs $705 and will generate around $45 worth of electricity per year. CEC is currently taking reservations and working with members to determine what will fit their budgets and energy use. CEC also offers flexible, low-cost, long-term financing for qualified members through its partner Sooper Credit Union and its Clean Energy Loan program.
Community-owned solar projects 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. In contrast, community projects are located on ideal sites with excellent sun exposure. CEC will own, operate and maintain SMPA's Community Solar array, meaning that members who purchase a panel in the array will incur no additional operation or maintenance costs. And it's more affordable than a traditional private solar installation.
Members interested in learning more or reserving panels should contact CEC directly at www.SMPAsolar.com, 1-888-208-5858 or email@example.com.
About San Miguel Power Association (SMPA)San Miguel Power Association, Inc. is a member-owned, locally-controlled rural electric cooperative with offices in Nucla and Ridgway, Colo. It is the mission of San Miguel Power Association to demonstrate corporate responsibility and community service while providing our members safe, reliable, cost effective and environmentally responsible electrical service. SMPA serves approximately 9,600 members and 14,000 meters and supports local communities with $200,000 annually in property taxes and $400,000 in energy efficiency and renewable energy rebates.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:San Miguel Power Association Community SolarPowered by Clean Energy CollectiveWeb: www.SMPAsolar.comPhone: 800.370.5276Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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