Eagle County’s Walking Mountains Science Center became Solar Forward’s latest community partner, backed by strong stakeholder involvement and holistic goals
EAGLE COUNTY, CO- Solar Energy International (SEI)'s outreach program, Solar Forward anticipates a successful Eagle County program in 2022 after learning about the community's goals and broad stakeholder support. Eagle County, like many mountain towns, is seeking thoughtful solutions to mitigating their carbon footprint and is now making a holistic solar campaign, like Solar Forward, a part of that conversation. Solar Forward will help Eagle County promote a solar group buy-in program called Solarize Eagle County, creating a group discount for program participants.
High country communities typically have economies heavily tied to outdoor recreation industries and tourism. Beyond that, mountain communities are hometowns, often with strong environmental ethics and a collaborative approach to mitigating climate change. Eagle County is one such community. The Climate Action Collaborative for the Eagle County Community, led by Walking Mountains Science Center, developed a Climate Action Plan in 2016, with an update in 2020, to guide them toward a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and an 80% reduction by 2050.
"We know that combating climate change will be a monumental effort. It will take action from all of us to meet our collective goals. That is why we've chosen to partner with Solar Forward for Solarize Eagle County. Together, we can inspire our community to make meaningful adjustments that will help meet local climate action goals," said Melissa Kirr, Sr. Director of Sustainability at Walking Mountains.
Walking Mountains partnered with Solar Forward to bring more solar access to Eagle County. Walking Mountains brings environmental and sustainability programming to the Eagle Valley, making them a natural partner for implementing a solar campaign that promotes energy education, battery storage options, and equitable participation for low-income residents and small businesses. And of course, the Solarize group buy-in discount!
The Solarize model promotes a larger discount based on the combined number of installations across the community, making it a community endeavor to generate the largest discount available. Walking Mountains will be able to boost the affordability of solar for low to moderate income residents by offering an additional $2,000 rebate for income-qualified community members. An additional $4,000 rebate is also available for solar storage but some stipulations do apply. Since Walking Mountains also manages local energy assessment funding and efficiency information, they are also well-suited to communicate the economic benefits of efficiency before solar.
"This is a county-wide effort, so we want to ensure that everyone in the community has an opportunity to participate. We are committed to reaching our collective goals to reduce emissions and will continue to ensure that everyone has access to resources that will contribute to lower bills and healthier homes. A home energy assessment is the first step for everyone in this community to determine if they are a good candidate for Solarize Eagle County while identifying additional measures to improve energy efficiency in their home," added Kirr.
With the stakeholder involvement of Eagle County through the Climate Action Collaborative and Walking Mountains, the holistic goals of equitable solar access, education, emissions reductions, and resilience through battery storage are attainable.
"There are so many ways to address climate goals with actions." said Ellen Ross, Solar Forward Program Manager, "I am eager to work with new communities, see how they are approaching solutions and how Solar Forward can help them create sustainability and resilience. As we transition to cleaner energy sources everywhere, I look forward to addressing solar access with Eagle County and helping them meet their collaborative goals."
Solar Forward is accepting program applications on a rolling basis. For more information, contact the Solar Forward Program Manager, Ellen Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-527-7657 extension 116.
About Solar Energy International: SEI was founded in 1991 as a nonprofit educational organization with the purpose of empowering students, alumni, and partners to expand a diverse, inclusive, well-trained and educated solar electricity workforce. SEI's aim is to promote sustainable economic growth, mitigate climate change, and support energy independence.
About Walking Mountains Science Center 501(c)3: Walking Mountains Science Center's mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education. As a community leader in environmental stewardship and climate action, Walking Mountains spearheads many initiatives in the Eagle River Valley including the Climate Action Collaborative and energy efficiency and assistance programs.