Lack of funds could curtail Vail Valley solar projects |

Lack of funds could curtail Vail Valley solar projects

Lauren Glendenning
Vail Valley, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Homeowners in Colorado’s Vail Valley have been taking advantage of solar energy incentives so much that one program has dried up already for 2009.

Holy Cross Energy provides a $2 per watt incentive under its Renewable Generation program for people who install renewable electricity using wind, hydroelectric, photovoltaic, biomass or geothermal technology of up to 10 kilowatts per installation, according to its Web site. The incentive pays up to half of the actual installed cost, but the $1,092,000 fund for 2009 is already gone.

“This will pretty seriously affect the amount of solar that is installed in the valley within the next seven months,” said Megan Gilman, president of Active Energies, a Minturn-based energy consulting and solar design firm. “The incentives offered from Holy Cross were a great help in making (photovoltaic) systems affordable for owners of many homes and businesses.”

Craig Tate, a spokesman for Holy Cross, said the company is reviewing the rebate incentive program in August and could free up more money for the program, but it wouldn’t happen until 2010.

Holy Cross began doing rebates for various energy efficiencies in 2004, Tate said. The Renewable Generation program began in 2006 and the number of people applying for it has doubled and quadrupled each year, he said.

“I think more people have wanted to go ahead and do the right thing and put on some renewable energy on to their homes,” he said. “Solar is an easy choice ” everybody has sunshine, it’s one of those (energy options) that’s an easy choice for renewable because it’s available.”

Holy Cross created the fund after a 2005 survey of its users supported a rate increase for it.

Holy Cross’s incentive, combined with a federal tax credit ” 30 percent of the cost of installing the system ” and Eagle County’s ECO Build, a local green building incentive, the cost of installing solar becomes really affordable for a lot of people, Gilman said.

“I don’t think there’s any way some people could do solar without (those incentives),” she said.

Since Active Energies began working in the valley about three years ago, Gilman said there’s been a huge increase in interest and demand for solar energy.

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