OCTOBER 24, 2013 BY 

solar garden

Living in Steamboat, I wanted to be the first to buy into the community owned solar “garden” being installed near Craig, CO close to the end of the year.  Sadly, I was their second customer, someone (Jeff Troeger) beat me to it!  Kudos to Yampa Valley Electric Association for bringing this opportunity to our community through their partnership with Clean Energy Collective (CEC) out of Boulder.

Yes you can now buy into the solar garden at pre-construction pricing ($2.75 watt)  which represents a 15% discount to post-construction pricing as well as the 30% renewable energy Federal Tax Credit.    However, there is little doubt in my mind that few if any will actually pay post-construction pricing because all the panels will be reserved and gone by then.  Both community solar gardens installed by CEC in Summit County last year sold out before they even broke ground.
Feel free to contact me directly and I’d be happy to go through the economics of why owning a portion of the solar garden is absolutely the best bang for your buck.  For our home, we are buying enough panels to offset 100% of our electricity usage by way of a credit from Yampa Valley Electric Association for the production from “our” panels.  In our neighborhood, HOA restrictions have made it virtually impossible to install panels on or around our home.   And yes, these are “our” panels and the credit for production can be transferred to a different YVEA service address or sold with our home if we choose (pretty easy to sell a house with no electricity bill).  Next year, when we buy our first plug in electric vehicle, our credit for the electricity used will not only offset normal electricity rates, but gas at the pump as well.  This is the moment – get them while they’re hot!!
Financial consultant to YVSC
Additional information added per CEC’s presentation on January 16, 2014:
  • The array is a 577kw system located in the city of Craig, CO
  • Owners will earn 10cents per kilowatt (YVEA customers currently pay 8c), and rate will increase as YVEA’s cost of energy increases
  • Buyers can not purchase more than 120% of their usage and no one buyer can own more than 60% of the array (to make it a community array)
  • Easy monitoring and awareness (iPhone apps!)
  • A business that uses 125,000 kwh per year would save 4 million lbs of CO2, 4.5 million auto miles, 6000 trees, and over $29,000 (for 290 panels) in the first year!
  • Only 25% of rooftops are suited for solar, this array is perfectly situated for maximum productivity
  • Array will break ground for construction upon winter’s melting
  • Currently 20% sold
  • Minimum purchase: 1 panel