Thanks to Sangre de Cristo Electric Association (SDCEA) for building Trout Creek Solar, a two-megawatt solar farm on Colorado Department of Corrections land in Johnson’s Village. SDCEA is to be applauded for completing and energizing the array. However, their promised community solar portion has yet to happen.
In 2016, BV Solar Share, a local volunteer group, researched a model for a community solar project at the request of the Town of Buena Vista Board of Trustees. A community solar array allows community members to purchase shares of the array. Energy generated by their share is then credited off their electric bill. Community solar is a great alternative for people who want to get a larger portion of their electricity from solar power but are unable to do rooftop solar. People who rent their homes can also participate.
After months of research by BV Solar Share, and a community interest survey that showed strong interest in community solar, SDCEA proposed its own idea in 2017 for a two-megawatt solar garden using a national scale solar developer to add solar power to our electric grid. They agreed to “carve out” 500 kilowatts for community solar. It seemed like a win-win situation: SDCEA would get the economy of scale from the large project, and the community would get a community solar program.
Now, two years later, Trout Creek Solar is complete and operational. But SDCEA has not carved out any of the two-megawatt projects for community solar. Although BV Solar Share has tried to help SDCEA set up parameters and subscriptions for the promised 500-kilowatt community solar program, we have been thwarted by SDCEA.
The 193 people on the BV Solar Share email list have been waiting for two years for SDCEA to follow through on their promise for a community solar carve-out. We urge all SDCEA members interested in community solar to contact SDCEA and ask them to follow through on their commitment. SDCEA contact information: 719-395-2412, www.myelectric.coop/about/contact/, PO Box 2013, Buena Vista, Colorado 81211.