GUEST COMMENTARY
Community-Owned Solar Project Taking Flight
by Kevin Ritter, SMPA General Manager
Jan 15, 2012 | 807 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
San Miguel Power has been working with the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) to develop SMPA's Community Solar project – a one megawatt community-owned solar facility in Paradox Valley. That project is now one step closer to reality.

SMPA's Board of Directors and CEC finalized the contract at last month's board meeting. CEC is now busy securing property for the facility, and they anticipate breaking ground later this winter.

The solar facility will be community-owned, meaning that SMPA members can buy into the project by purchasing solar panels. They will receive a monthly monetary credit for the power their panels produce. Each solar panel is 240 watts and will generate around $45 worth of electricity per year. The cost of a panel has not been set, but typically it hovers between $600 and $800.

Community-owned solar facilities offer many advantages over traditional private installations. Before this project, members interested in solar generation had to install panels on their private homes or businesses. This limited the participation of renters and members with poor solar locations. In contrast, community-owned facilities are designed for the best possible production, located on ideal sites with excellent sun exposure, and you do not have to own property in order to participate. The only requirement to take part in SMPA’s Community Solar project is that you must be an SMPA member.

CEC is responsible for constructing, maintaining, and operating the facility. Another added bonus is that, in most cases, investing in community solar is more affordable than installing your own private installation.

CEC and SMPA are starting to take reservations for the solar panels. If you are interested in purchasing a panel(s) contact CEC at 888/208-5858. For more information visit www.smpasolar.com. 
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