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Poudre Valley REA Dedicates New Community Solar Farm

August 29, 2012

The sun was shining brightly yesterday morning at the headquarters of Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association as the co-op hosted its fourth annual Government Official Appreciation Meeting followed by the dedication of PVREA’s new 116-kW community solar farm. Prior to the solar farm dedication, the PVREA Board of Directors and CEO Brad Gaskill met with numerous state and local elected officials to give them an overview of the electric co-op program and the PVREA system.

CEO Gaskill talked about the priority of the board and management to keep electric rates affordable and how the co-op operates at about a 1% margin to accomplish that objective. CFO Jeff Wadsworth followed Brad with a presentation describing the origins of the High Park fire and he noted that it will cost the co-op about $2.5 million to replace damaged or destroyed facilities. I gave a brief overview of the services offered by CREA and the energy policy issues that we are monitoring and Dave Lock from Tri-State wrapped up the hour-long presentation to the elected officials with a description of the Tri-State system and the challenges associated with keeping wholesale power costs affordable to Tri-State’s forty-four member systems.

The highlight of the day, however, was the dedication of the new solar farm with remarks by PVREA Board President Jack Schneider as well as CEO Gaskill and Tracy Bentley from the Colorado Energy Office. The 494 panels of the PVREA solar farm are owned by individual PVREA member-owners who will receive credits on their bills from the electricity generated by the panels. Community solar farms enable co-op member-owners to receive the benefits of using solar power without building a costly system of their own, and they also allow renters and others whose property may not be suited for solar power to take advantage of a community array. The PVREA is completely subscribed by PVREA member-owners who purchased one or more panels and will receive credit for the output of those panels for years to come.

The PVREA community solar farm is just one more example of the co-op commitment to a diversified power generation portfolio and our ability to respond to the desires of our member-owners to support renewable energy. Kudos PVREA!

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