Community Solar Gardens Coming to Garfield County Towns

New solar garden projects are coming to Garfield County, where the goal is to expand solar efforts along the corridor of Interstate 70 on the Western Slope.


New garden projects are coming to , Colorado. There will be three locations in Garfield County along with three in Mesa County. Parachute will be home to a 100-kilowatt solar garden, while a 1-megawatt solar farm will be finished this winter west of Silt.

These two innovative projects are 100 percent subscribed already. Subscriptions could soon exist for two additional community solar projects also to be built (later in 2019) in Garfield County and Grand Junction.

What is a Community Solar Garden?

It is important to explain how a community solar garden works. This type of project is sometimes referred to as a community solar farm, and it is essentially a solar power installation accepting capital from and offering output credit benefits to investors. In some cases, one purchases individual solar panels installed in the garden. In other words, it is a community shared solar array with subscribers connected to the grid. Individuals such as homeowners and even businesses receive a bill credit as though the solar panels are installed on their own rooftop. Community solar is a concept growing in popularity across the United States, as there are 42 states that have at least a single community solar project lined up, in accordance with Solar Energy Industries Association.

Denver-based ’s Vice president of project development, , stated that the 100-kilowatt solar garden to be completed in Parachute is under construction. The land is owned by the Garfield Housing Authority. is working with Pivot on the creation of the other 10.3 MW of being built along the Western Slope.

According to Sullivan, while the total electricity costs vary for each unit at the senior complex, the electricity being generated is going to offset the individual units and could credit an individual bill for up to $20 each month.

Big Changes Coming In 2019

Two of the solar gardens being built in Garfield County will serve subscribers to , and the 100-kilowatt solar garden was a donation to the Garfield Housing Authority. In accordance with Sullivan, the project west of Silt is going to break ground in the beginning of 2019 and should be finished by March – it is already subscribed 100 percent and all subscribers are in Garfield County. These subscribers include the Battlement Mesa Metro District, the town of Carbondale and the Roaring Fork School District. The electricity provided will be equal to roughly 250 houses.

The 2MW solar garden is still in need of subscribers and land, but the Silt and Parachute projects have been confirmed. The hope is for conditional-usage permits to be signed by Garfield County commissioners by the beginning of 2019.

, with Clean Energy Economy for the Region (), discussed the affordability of solar energy and the fact that CLEER is looking to bring more solar energy opportunities to light as the organization advocates for clean energy. Sparhawk believes opportunities will become more abundant as the cost of renewable energy drops. CLEER is in the process of finalizing the location for the 2MW solar garden.

Local Garfield County towns, such as Silt, New Castle and Parachute, are signed up for a solar garden in Palisade.

Community gardens offer solar energy to subscribers who agree to sign up for 20 years – they receive a certain amount of solar panels which generate energy in order to offset a portion of their [subscriber’s] electricity. Cost savings vary.

Back in March, an article was published on Post Independent indicating that Garfield County will spend just about $1.8 million in electric utilities over the course of the next two decades, with the projected total the county could save by switching to solar at roughly over $417,000. Clearly, the cost savings are quite notable.

Using renewable energy is becoming an incredibly popular concept across the globe. Following solar news will continue to reveal unique projects. Think about changes that could be made where you live – the possibilities are truly endless!




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