Biggest US Community Solar Project Opens in Colorado
The biggest community solar garden in the US has opened in southwestern Colorado, the San Miguel Power Association Community Solar Array.
At 1.1 megawatts (MW), covering 7 acres, it can serve over 200 customers that live in the territory of rural electric coop San Miguel Power Association.
Solar garden pioneer Clean Energy Collective built and maintains the array. People can buy individual solar panels for $705 after rebates - they can buy just one panel or as many panels as they want to offset their electricity and receive credit for the power produced on their monthly utility bills.
The price includes the same tax credits and electricity discounts as if the panels were installed on a customer's roof, and they don't have to worry about maintenance or repairs. Clean Energy Collective maintains the panels for 50 years.
"We are leveraging scalability to the benefit of individual panel owners. You don't even need a roof to adopt clean energy today, says Paul Spencer, founder and CEO of Clean Energy Collective.
This is Clean Energy Collective's 15th solar garden that's operating or under construction, representing more than 5.3 MW of community-sited solar PV. By the end of 2013, the group expects to reach about 10 MW and by 2015, 100 MW.
In June, it began construction of the Kit Carson community solar garden in New Mexico, which will sit atop parking lots and a school.
Community solar legislation failed in California after lobbying efforts by PG&E, but it will be re-introduced early next year.
Last month, the world's biggest community solar garden came online in the UK - the 5 MW project serves 1500 households.
Here's information on Guides to developing community solar.
Learn more about the San Miguel Power Association Community Solar Array: