Letter: Find out more about solar energy | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Find out more about solar energy

For 45 years, Earth Day has always been an excellent reminder for many of an opportunity to take action to reduce our impact and be cognizant of our carbon footprint on the planet. For others, every day is Earth Day.

This Earth Day, I read several articles about solar power, recognizing the rapid expansion of solar in our valley. I read with heart about Sunsense, a company that has been in business for 25 years designing and installing solar systems, about the town of Rifle using solar to power its government operations and about the Clean Energy Collective, another company that uses an innovative financing and tracking model to make solar possible for public entities, businesses and homeowners that can't put it on their building. These three examples tell of the value solar contributes in our community, creating jobs, saving money and make it accessible for many.

Many people I talk to want solar but believe it is too expensive or unrealistic. However, there has never been a better time to move forward with solar. Depending on rebates from your utility provider, rebates from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency and the available federal tax credits, the cost of the system could be offset as much as 70 percent for a clean-energy system that will last 20 years and literally eliminate tons of carbon from the environment. And solar can work in a variety of applications.

The Community Office for Resource Efficiency helps homeowners and businesses explore this great opportunity to install solar on their home or business. As of February, it had distributed $1.13 million in rebates for 330 solar systems in the Roaring Fork Valley. This is approximately 1.3 megawatts of solar that has been installed in our valley, supporting the local economy and creating clean, locally generated power. We also want everyone to have access to solar energy, so the Community Office for Resource Efficiency has partnered with Grid Alternatives, another nonprofit, which will provide free solar systems in Pitkin County to those whose incomes meet certain guidelines.

To learn more, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency is hosting a free solar information session May 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Aspen Community Church for residents to learn about rebates, loans and grants that can greatly offset the cost of solar and anyone who has questions whether solar is right for their home or business. Visit http://www.aspencore.org for more information.

Please join us in continuing our transition to energy independence in the Roaring Fork Valley. Go solar today!

Mona Newton

Executive director, Community Office for Resource Efficiency