First community-owned solar garden resulting from the Colorado Community Solar Garden Act, the 500 kW Boulder Cowdery Meadows Solar Array will begin serving Xcel Energy customers by mid-April.
Boulder, Colo. (February 21, 2013) Pioneer solar garden developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) announced today the groundbreaking for Colorado's newest community-owned solar garden, the Boulder Cowdery Meadows Solar Array, in Boulder County, Colo. This is the first community-owned project in Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards program, created in response to the 2010 Colorado Community Solar Gardens Act (HB 10-1342) authorizing community solar projects, and is the state's first solar garden through an Investor Owned Utility (IOU).
CEC's sixth community solar project operating in Colorado, the 500 kW Boulder Cowdery Meadows Solar Array in south Boulder County will deliver clean, locally-produced power to any participating commercial and residential ratepayer throughout Xcel Energy's Boulder County territory. CEC is also devoting 5% of the power produced at the array to low-income residents through a unique partnership with Boulder Housing Partners.
"We're excited to introduce community solar to Xcel Energy businesses and residents throughout Boulder and the Front Range," said Tom Sweeney, chief operating officer for CEC, which has recently relocated its headquarters to Boulder, Colo. "This new array will be particularly attractive to commercial customers who can reduce their monthly electricity expenses with a depreciable asset on their balance sheet."
CEC's community solar modelóclean power generation through medium-scale, locally-sited facilities collectively owned by participating utility customersówas designed specifically for commercial and residential customers for whom on-site renewable energy systems are not an option. They may lease their space, live in multi-unit dwellings, have homes or businesses that aren't suitable for solar installations, or lack the financial capacity to install a system on-site.
All residential, commercial, public and non-profit Xcel Energy customers in Boulder County can purchase solar panels in the community array, from the minimum 1 kilowatt up to fully offsetting their electricity usage. All CEC customers will pay just $3.70/watt for their system, which includes all discounts and credits, as well as ongoing operation and maintenance. The average residential customer's 5 kW system costs $18,500, and upon activation immediately generates credits on their monthly Xcel Energy electricity bill for the power produced. Customers also receive quarterly Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) payments based on their panels' production. Low cost financing is available for all residential and commercial customers.
"The Cowdery Company is pleased to be a part of this project, and to be able to have our great grandfather's land provide such benefit to the Boulder community," said Ellen Cohig, president of Cowdery Company, the land owner.
CEC partnered with REC Solar and Flatirons, Inc. for the system design and engineering, and land surveying.
In 2010, CEC established the first community-owned solar garden in the country near El Jebel, Colorado. Since that time, CEC has installed six community solar facilities in Colorado representing 2.7 MW. Until now, those projects have been partnerships with rural cooperative utilities. Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is building an additional seven community-owned solar gardens under the Xcel Solar*Rewards program, totaling 3.5 MW of distributed power generation to serve Colorado's customers in Boulder, Jefferson, Denver, Arapahoe and Summit Counties and the City of Aurora. CEC also has facilities operating or under construction in N.M., Minn. and Vt.
About Clean Energy Collective (CEC)
Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective is a developer of community-based renewable energy facilities and a national leader in community power generation. CEC pioneered the model of delivering clean power-generation through large-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. The CEC's proprietary RemoteMeter® system automatically calculates monthly credits and integrates with existing utility billing systems, enabling all utility customers to easily have clean, renewable power credited directly on their monthly utility bills, without modifying their home or office. www.easycleanenergy.com
About REC Solar, Inc.
REC Solar, Inc., a subsidiary of Mainstream Energy Corporation, is a national leader in solar electric system design and installation. Focused on making solar affordable and simple, REC Solar specializes in residential, business, government and utility projects, offering a local presence in all major solar markets in the U.S. By providing innovative products, efficient processes, and integrated services, REC Solar is committed to delivering high-quality systems while lowering the cost of solar power for all. In 15 years of business, REC Solar has installed more than 9,000 systems nationwide in excess of 140 megawatts. For more, visit RECSolar.com or call (888) 657-6527.