As the City of Fort Collins grows, the utilities department continues to plan and adapt for the future and today announces its commitment to sustainability by partnering with Colorado-based community solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) to launch the city’s first community-owned solar program. CEC will build a 333 kW commercial-grade solar PV array within its territory, making solar ownership available to any of the municipal utility’s approximately 65,000 residential customers. CEC was selected from the city’s community solar RFP offered late last year.
“We’re pleased to partner with CEC to bring the Fort Collins Community Solar program to our electricity customers,” said Norm Weaver, Sr. Energy Services Engineer for Fort Collins Utilities. “This program is an innovative way to help our customers support a local clean energy future and lower their electric bills.”
Clean Energy Collective’s power purchase agreement with Fort Collins Utilities allows the municipal utility to buy long-term, locally-sited renewable energy production. Customers in the Fort Collins Community Solar program will receive all available rebates and tax incentives, as if the system were located on their roof, and through CEC’s RemoteMeter™ software will be credited for the power their panels produce directly on their monthly utility bills.
Energizing the Climate Action Plan
Further solidifying Fort Collins leadership role as one of the “Greenest” cities in Colorado, the City has initiated a review of its Climate Action Plan, studying the strategies to achieve a community-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 80% with respect to 2005 levels by 2030. Integrating this community solar program is part of the City’s effort to achieve that laudable goal.
Paul Spencer, CEC’s president and founder, describes Fort Collins Utilities as a great example of how the community solar solution can provide utilities reliable, in-network clean power at equitable rates, while delivering a product their customers want and can access. “We are honored Fort Collins Utilities has selected CEC to be its partner on this project, and look forward to helping the City reach its renewable energy goals,” Spencer said.
Pioneered by CEC, the community solar model employs economies of scale to build optimally-sited, fully maintained solar PV arrays, or gardens, designed for maximum power production and maximum lifespan, delivering the lowest possible price for renewable energy. Consumers get the benefits of solar ownership, yet bypass the research, construction, and ongoing maintenance and repair required of a stand-alone system. It also provides customers with the flexibility of having the energy credits move with them within their utility territory, and the ability to sell their panels at any time.
CEC expects the Fort Collins Community Solar project to be interconnected and delivering clean, local power later this year. Thanks to a generous rebate program from Fort Collins Utilities of $1.50 per watt, the program will offer solar ownership at an unprecedented cost of $1.59 per watt ($485 per 305 watt panel) after federal tax credits. Space is limited, and the array is expected to sell out quickly. To reserve panels, register interest, and stay informed on the projects progress, visit www.fortcollinscommunitysolar.com.