Solar panels going on Vail bus stop |

Solar panels going on Vail bus stop

Kristin Anderson/kanderson@vaildaily.comGrid Feeders team members Bill Sepmeier, left, Richard Miller, Scott Schmitz and Matthew Charles hold an Evergreen Solar Panel as the sun reflects off of it Monday in Eagle-Vail.

VAIL ” The windmills on the golf course were art. But the next energy-themed installation in the town of Vail could have a more practical purpose.

Vail plans to spend $25,000 to put 24 solar panels on the roof of the Vail Transportation Center.

“Awesome. It actually produces energy, this one,” said Matt Scherr, director of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.

The 3-by-5-foot panels would create electricity to help power the Colorado Ski Museum and the Vail Information Center, said Richard Miller of Grid Feeders, the Eagle-Vail company that’s been tapped to install the system.

The town decided to put the panels on the bus station so a lot of people could see it, said Bill Carlson, environmental health officer for the town of Vail.

“We’re trying to promote renewable energy in the town of Vail,” Carlson said. “Solar seems to be the obvious renewable energy opportunity because of our climate and number of sunny days and our altitude.”

The town still needs to sign the deal with Grid Feeders. Work could start by July, Carlson said.

The cells would create 4.5 kilowatts per hour, which should save 16,553 pounds or 7.6 metric tons of carbon emissions per year, according to the town of Vail.

“It’s the right thing to do for the environment and the world as a whole, and it’s an important that Vail become a leader in environmental stewardship,” said Vail Councilman Mark Gordon. “We have responsibilities that are greater than our self-interest.”

Another facet of the project is replacing light bulbs in the Colorado Ski Museum with fluorescent bulbs that use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Scherr said he applauds the town for using the special light bulbs. Reducing the amount of energy used is important, Scherr said.

The solar project and the light bulbs should save the town $3,000 per year in electricity bills. The town is expecting to recoup its costs for the two projects in less than 10 years.

“It’s a good business decision anyway,” Scherr said.

The money for the project would likely come from Vail’s 1-percent real estate tax, Carlson said.

In March, the town of Vail installed about 3,000 8-foot-tall windmills as an art exhibit near the Vail Golf Course. Each windmill had a tiny light that was illuminated when the wind spun the rotors. That installation cost $94,500.

Last summer, the town agreed to offset 100 percent of its electricity use ” about 20 million kilowatt hours ” with wind power credits at a cost of about $12,000 per year.

The town may do more solar projects in the future, Carlson said. Another possible alternative-energy project for the town would be to use geothermal energy, which uses groundwater to heat buildings, Carlson said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User