(Boulder, CO, August 24, 2012) – Community Energy Solar (Community Energy) today announced that it has received one megawatt (dc) of capacity in Xcel’s Solar*Rewards Community standard offer program. With this capacity, two solar gardens are made possible through a visionary partnership between the City of Lafayette, Community Energy and Bella Energy and when built will produce enough energy to power more than 180 homes.
The solar gardens will be located on two unique parcels of property, adjacent to the City of Lafayette’s water reclamation treatment facility on E County Line Road.
The Xcel program was initiated by the 2010 Colorado Community Solar Gardens Act. Solar Gardens are special because the solar power can be used to benefit off-site premises. This model enables solar facilities to be constructed at ideal locations, and provides solar to those who want it, but cannot host it themselves. Off-site entities participate as “subscribers.” Subscribers sign up for a share of the solar garden, and receive a credit on their Xcel bill each month based on how much energy their share of the solar garden produces. “This is a great step toward local, clean energy independence which lowers energy costs for the public as well as low-income populations,” said Gary Klaphake, City Administrator of Lafayette.
In addition to the City of Lafayette benefitting from the green energy production, a portion of the output of each solar garden will be dedicated to low-income individuals in Boulder County. The City of Lafayette is contributing the land for the solar gardens at no cost, which makes it possible to donate the output at no cost to low-income subscribers in these solar gardens. Community Energy estimates that income-qualified participants will be able to reduce their electric bills by about fifty percent. According to Xcel, anyone who earns less than 185% of the federal poverty line is income-qualified. Community Energy is seeking approximately 25 income-qualified subscribers for these solar gardens.
“The City of Lafayette has been a champion of renewable energy in Colorado for many years. This project allows for the further expansion of the City’s leadership and provides a unique opportunity for some of its low-income residents to participate in free green energy. We are proud to partner with such a visionary and forward-thinking municipality,” said Eric Blank, President of Community Energy Solar, LLC.
The solar gardens will supply about 1.5 million kilowatt hours per year of solar generated electricity to Lafayette. The annual environmental benefit equals that of about 213 zero-emission passenger vehicles or 27,883 newly planted trees growing for ten years. Bella Energy, a commercial solar contractor, is serving as general contractor to complete construction, targeted for 2013. “We could not be more proud to be a part of two, clean, community oriented solar projects which are just down the road from our headquarters. This is the greenest of the green–local jobs building fuel-free solar power that will serve the community for decades,” said Jim Welch, Bella Energy CEO.
About Community Energy
Community Energy (“CE”) has led renewable energy development in the U.S. since its founding in 1999. After leading the early wind efforts in Colorado, the founders of CE brought to market some of the first wind development in the Eastern U.S. at the start of the decade. In 2009 the company expanded into solar project development in states with new solar targets, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina and Puerto Rico, as well as Colorado and Arizona. CE continues to lead the industry by backing utility power purchase agreements with innovative retail renewable energy marketing and hedge products. High profile projects built by CE include the 6 megawatt project in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the 7.8 megawatt Vineland Solar Project in the City of Vineland, NJ, the 24 megawatt Bear Creek Wind Farm in the Poconos, PA, and the 7.5 megawatt Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm in Atlantic City, NJ. For more information visit www.communityenergysolar.com
About the City of Lafayette
The City of Lafayette, Colorado is located in southeast Boulder County, 18 miles north of Denver and 10 miles east of Boulder. The City prides itself on its forward thinking and small town atmosphere. A panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains inspires their view into the future for the 25,000 residents who call Lafayette home. Lafayette was the first city in the state to collaborate with the Governor’s Office to complete a comprehensive energy audit encompassing all municipal facilities. This project produced $1.2 million in energy improvements resulting in a 25% yearly energy cost savings to the city and an annual reduction of 966 tons of carbon dioxide. The City is currently involved in renewable energy generation through five solar photovoltaic systems on city owned facilities as well as a methane gas project at the wastewater treatment plant generating heat for a portion of the wastewater treatment process. The City also recently installed an electric vehicle charging station and three electric bike charging stations.
About Bella Energy
Bella Energy is a commercial solar developer and project contractor. We provide our clients with turnkey solutions including design, engineering, financing, and project construction. With operations across the United States we have helped over 600 clients save money with long lasting solar solutions. To learn more about commercial solar installation visithttp://www.bellaenergy.com
Joel Thomas 484.654.2128
City of Lafayette
Debbie Wilmot (303) 665-5588 ext. 3455