Revolutionizing the Way We Get Solar Power
KREX News Room
RIFLE, Colo.- Although solar energy isn't anything new, one company is revolutionizing the way people are getting it. The Clean Energy Collective built a solar garden in Rifle about a year ago. It is the largest of its kind in the country.
Energy powers our lives. However, its footprint on the environment and our wallets can be taxing.
Doug Sheffer, with DBS Helicopters, said, "Being in the aviation world, you use a lot of energy in fuel alone."
One company is on a mission to change the way people get their energy.
David Wiedinmyer with the Clean Energy Collective said, "The difference from this from any other solar installation that most people are familiar with is individual customers that have electric bills with the utilities; they can now own solar panels here at the solar farm."
"We are not allowed to have panels up by our house, so that was a much bigger incentive to jump in on what these guys are doing at the airport," said Sheffer.
"The local economy is diverse. I think they have the reputation of oil and gas country, yet there are pretty significant adopters of solar power," Wiedinmyer said.
With just a phone call people can get solar power in their homes or businesses. Wiedinmyer said, "If I were a utility customer I'd come and buy panels in the solar farm. I'd get credits back on my electric bill every month for the power produced … and I didn't have to change my house, I didn't have to do anything and I never have to worry about ongoing maintenance."
"We use it at the airport in our 3,300 square foot hangar and then at our house," said Sheffer.
They've even created an iPhone application. In real time customers can find out how much energy their panels are producing and how much money they're saving.
Effects of the solar garden are far reaching. It's saving customers money while at the same time being a pollution solution.
"Make it easy for me, the utility customer, and I would love to do solar. Make it financially smart and I don't see why I wouldn't," said Wiedinmyer.
Sheffer said, "I just love the idea of trying to make a difference right now."
"Hats off to Garfield County and Rifle for saying, 'We're going to find a way to provide community solar power.' That's a real innovative step for Western Colorado, for Colorado and even for the United States," said Wiedinmyer.
Soon more people will be deciding if they too want a piece of the solar revolution. The Clean Energy Collective is building solar gardens for utilities all over Colorado. Xcel customers can look forward to getting them in the fall.