RFTA visits Community Owned Solar Farm

We are no strangers to innovative ideas here in the Roaring Fork Valley. In fact, the rugged independence of our back drop attracts scores of open minds and big thinkers. One clever idea that’s been percolating

among the collective brain powers of some far seeing locals is a community owned solar array. The details are many and the planning has been meticulous.

Yesterday Clean Energy Collective unveiled the largest community owned solar farm in the nation. Along with Holy Cross, the City of Rifle and numerous  other entities, CEC brought to life the concept that even though a client might not be able to install solar collectors on their own property, they can still actually own a panel, or more, through the collective efforts of the solar panel array. If somebody is a Holy Cross client, they can contact the company and purchase a panel. This will lower the client’s monthly bill while contributing to the efforts to bring clean energy to life.

There were many speakers at yesterday’s event. Former Governor Bill Ritter lent his support to the project. CEC founder Paul Spencer gave a thorough history of the project while also sharing his obvious delight and passion on the subject. Rifle City Mayor, Keith Lambert, shared his belief that this project is “a participatory democracy” and that this efforts helps us “return to our roots of the true sustainability of our land;a return to our American roots.”

The 858-kilowatt community solar garden sits on five acres of land near the Garfield County Airport. It stretches three football fields and made is up of more than 3,000 panels, the array harnesses enough of the sun’s energy to power 140 homes.