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Grand Valley Power Flips Switch on Pioneering Solar Project

June 1, 2015

Teams of volunteers donned hard hats and safety vests this past Saturday to help install solar panels at the latest addition to the Grand Valley Power community solar array near Grand Junction. At the end of the day, GVP General Manager Tom Walch flipped the switch to energize the substation that will deliver carbon-free kilowatt-hours from the solar panels to member-owners of the electric co-op that provides service in Mesa, Delta and Garfield counties.

Working together with the nonprofit Grid Alternatives, Grand Valley Power sponsored the first community solar garden in Colorado that is specifically targeted at assisting low-income electric co-op member-owners. A total of eight families that receive electric service from GVP will benefit from the power generated from the solar panels. These families will continue to pay a monthly facilities charge, but they will see a significant reduction in their monthly electric bills since their energy usage will be offset by the electricity produced by the solar panels. After a four-year subscription period for the initial signees, a new set of co-op consumers will get their chance to save with solar.

Volunteers came from as far away as Texas and California to be a part of this groundbreaking project that enables co-op member-owners from all economic circumstances to benefit from solar power.  As part of “Team Shirley”, I had a chance to work with volunteers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and others to install the solar panels that will be producing energy at this site for the next couple of decades.

The Grand Valley Power community solar project exemplifies the electric co-op Commitment to Community and the GVP co-op board and staff deserve kudos for their imagination and ingenuity in responding to the wishes of their co-op member-owners.

For a video of the project, check out this link:

http://www.nbc11news.com/home/headlines/Community-solar-garden-celebrates-the-launch-of-the-pilot-program–305590791.html

 

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