Eagle County invests in solar energy
EAGLE COUNTY — In its largest investment in renewable energy to date, Eagle County will offset approximately one-third of its electricity use through a solar energy program. The county is purchasing one megawatt of solar power generation through 3,279 panels at Clean Energy Collective’s Sunny Side Ranch community solar array in Carbondale.
The $3 million purchase represents contributions from several county departments and funds, including the Eagle County Regional Airport, ECO Transit, housing, road and bridge, solid waste and recycling and the general fund. The investment will reduce total greenhouse gas emissions from county operations by 13 percent and will be paid off with utility bill credits over the next 12 years.
Future energy savings will go directly to the county’s budgetary bottom line, with net cash flow over the next 20 years anticipated to save approximately $2.7 million. In the first two weeks, the array produced enough electricity to trim more than $11,000 from electric bills.
Renewable energy projects have played a significant role in furthering Eagle County’s “15 by ’15” policy, adopted in 2013. The policy outlines a goal of a 15 percent reduction in spending on energy, fuels, water and paper by 2015 while supporting increased recycling, adoption of renewable energy sources and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information, call Eagle County Environmental Sustainability Coordinator John Gitchell at 970-328-8766. To view photos of the project, visit Eagle County’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/EagleCounty.
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