Tri-State member Delta-Montrose’s Community Solar Array greets the dawn

Hotchkiss K-8 teacher Anita Evans (right) brought a group of sixth graders to the Community Solar Array kick-off in Montrose that drew more than 100 people on a chilly "polar solar" morning on Feb. 11.

Nearly 200 people braved chilly temperatures at two events on February 11, designed to celebrate the completion of Community Solar Arrays installed at Delta-Montrose Electric Association‘s Montrose headquarters and at its Read facility in Delta County, Colo.

Following expected approval of a solar tariff at a rate hearing on February 22, DMEA members will be able to lease very small increments of the two 10 kilowatt (kW) arrays and receive a proportional credit on their bill.

DMEA’s renewable energy engineer Jim Heneghan noted that United Power pioneered the Community Solar Array concept and appreciated the time United Power staff worked with him to develop DMEA’s program. “Sharing good ideas to better serve our member-owners is another reason that cooperatives serve consumers’ interests better than do other electric service providers,” said Heneghan.

Heneghan said that DMEA’s innovative addition to the concept was to make available a very affordable entry point – just $10 to lease 2.67 watts of capacity – so that virtually anyone could afford to participate.  A $10 lease should generate about $.50 worth of electricity annually. A larger investment will generate a larger credit over the course of the year.

DMEA began taking “reservations” for capacity on its website since it can’t actually take payments for solar leases until March 1, when the new tariff is expected to go into effect. As of February 15 DMEA had received reservations for about 10,000 watts, half of both arrays’ capacity.

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