Kit Carson Electric dedicates solar projects

Tri-State member Kit Carson Electric (Taos, N.M.) has marked the initial operations of two solar power facilities that use differing technologies and ownership arrangements to harvest energy from the sun.

Kit Carson hosted the late August dedication ceremony at the Taos Charter School, site of a 98.7-kilowatt community solar garden, the first in the state. The ceremony also marked the start of operations at the 1.5-megawatt Blue Sky Energy array, located near the Rio Grande Gorge, about five miles north.

Blue Sky Energy, which came on-line Aug. 1, is made up of 5,280 photovoltaic panels and utilizes a tracking array that follows the sun’s path.  It is projected to produce about 3.3 million kilowatt-hours of energy in its first year.

The significantly smaller Taos Charter School array, with 420 fixed panels expected to produce about 160,000 kWh of energy annually, went into operation Aug. 22. It is noteworthy for opening solar power to community ownership.

The array is owned by the Clean Energy Collective, a Colorado company. Under the community solar model it pioneered, Clean Energy constructs, maintains and warranties the solar gardens, and Kit Carson acquires the power they produce.

Consumers can purchase the Taos Charter School array’s 235-watt panels for $845, and the co-op will provide a credit on their monthly bills for the energy produced. Panel owners receive tax credits and electricity discounts as if the panels were installed on their own roof.

Read more at Electric Co-op Today

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