Eagle County invests $3 million in Missouri Heights solar array | AspenTimes.com

Eagle County invests $3 million in Missouri Heights solar array

Staff report
The Sunnyside Ranch Community Solar Array was completed in Missouri Heights in April. Eagle County government purchased 1-megawatt of power production for $3 million.
Aspen Times file photo |

Eagle County government made its largest investment ever in renewable energy by purchasing 1 megawatt of power from the Sunnyside Ranch Community Solar Array in Missouri Heights, near Carbondale.

Clean Energy Collective, a firm that was founded in El Jebel and has since relocated to the Front Range, built Sunnyside Ranch. The 1.8-megawatt solar array was fired up in April. It covers 11 acres with 6,107 solar panels. Eagle County purchased 3,279 panels.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority also is working on a contract to buy into the solar array.

Eagle County said in a statement that its purchase will offset about one-third of its annual electricity use and reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent. The purchase will be paid off from energy-bill credits over the next 12 years.

The power generated by the solar array goes into the Holy Cross Energy grid. The utility company credits members for the amount of power generated by their share of the community array.

“In the first two weeks of production, the array produced enough electricity to trim over $11,000 from electric bills,” the county said in a statement. Over the next 20 years, the county expects to save about $2.7 million in reduced electricity costs.

Clean Energy Collective hired Carbondale firm Sunsense Solar to construct the community array. Residential, commercial and government customers can buy into the projects rather than install individual solar systems at their sites.

Sunnyside Ranch took about four months to build. Work was aided by the mild winter.

Clean Energy Collective has 34 projects involving 15 utilities. Its local projects include the 77,740-watt Midvalley Solar Array in El Jebel and the 858,000-watt Garfield County Airport Solar Array.