The agreement allows SMPA, a member-owned rural electric cooperative serving more than 14,000 members in southwestern Colorado, to buy 1 megawatt of renewable energy at a fixed rate from CEC’s newest array slated to break ground in February and begin delivering power in April. SMPA’s commitment to purchasing the power from the CEC’s community-owned array illustrates the significant role renewable energy plays in providing for the energy needs of its members.
“This is a very practical and economical way for us to add local renewable power to our energy mix,” said SMPA General Manager Kevin Ritter.
“SMPA is working hard toward its green energy goals and we’re excited to be such a big part of that effort,” says CEC founder Paul Spencer.
The CEC has proved that the community-owned, distributed energy model works. “They’re built faster than large solar farms, installation and maintenance costs are still relatively cheap, and our structure allows members to receive all of the rebates and tax incentives of home-sited systems”, said Spencer.
Clean Energy Collective was the first in the nation to build and operate a community-owned renewable energy facility, and the Paradox Valley array will be one of five solar facilities either operating or under construction for the Colorado-based company. Along with an 858 kW facility in Rifle, currently the largest community-owned solar garden in the nation, and an 80 kW pilot facility operating in El Jebel, the CEC is developing a 1 MW site in El Jebel, a 500 kW facility in Colorado Springs, and is working on more than 33 MW of community solar opportunities throughout the nation.