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Aspen ski company plans solar farm

Scott Condon
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Aspen Skiing Co. and Colorado Rocky Mountain School hope to build a solar farm in Carbondale that would be the largest system of its kind on the Western Slope.

The company submitted an application to Garfield County for a solar electric system that will require about one acre of the school’s campus. Banks of Solar panels will cover about 28,800 square feet, or one-half acre, of the site, according to the application.

“The proposed solar electric system at (the school) is a tremendous community asset and a feature that both the town of Carbondale and Garfield County can be proud of,” said the application, which a Carbondale company called Sunsense prepared.

That firm will be hired to install the system, if it is approved.

Sunsense founder and president Scott Ely said a 147-kilowatt system is being proposed. The system would supply power to one of the primary buildings on the school campus and the rest of the electricity would be fed into Xcel Energy’s grid for use by other consumers.

The system would produce roughly 215,000 kilowatt-hours per year, Ely said. The “average” U.S. household uses around 11,000 kilowatts per year, so the system could theoretically produce enough electricity for 20 homes.

The project could help cement Carbondale’s position as a solar energy hot spot. The town is home to Solar Energy International, a national leader in education and technical assistance on renewable energy systems.

Solar panels have been installed on Carbondale’s government building and at the fire protection district.

The system will be visible from Highway 133, Ely said.

“It’s hard to hide [that size of system], particularly in an empty field,” he said.


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