Pitkin County to study solar power options

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

Pitkin County commissioners agreed Wednesday to spend $12,000 to partially fund a study that will look at ways to utilize solar energy in the county.

The study, which already is underway, will look at three basic ways the county can build solar energy infrastructure or otherwise take advantage of solar energy, said G.E. Fielding, county engineer.

The first option is to look at buying power from a solar farm like the Carbondale-based Clean Energy Collective, he said. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority and Eagle County already have similar agreements with the collective, according to a memo Fielding sent to commissioners.

The second option is to look at the rooftops of buildings the county already owns to see if solar panels could be installed there, Fielding said. The roofs of the fleet building at the county’s Public Works facility and the county’s main administration building at 530 Main St., both have south-facing roofs that might work well for the project, he said.

Finally, the study will look at county-owned properties to see if some — including the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, the landfill and the Public Works facility — might provide optimal spots for solar installations, Fielding said.

The county has hired Sunsense Solar, a Carbondale-based solar design and installation company, to conduct the survey.

Fielding said he and company officials are looking to present the results of the study to commissioners in April.

A $12,000 grant from the Roaring Fork Valley-based Community Office for Resource Efficiency, which commissioners also agreed to accept Wednesday, will make up the rest of the money for the study.