Grant to help Cdale Town Hall harvest energy |

Grant to help Cdale Town Hall harvest energy

John StroudCarbondale Correspondent

The Carbondale-based Community Office for Resource Efficiency announced last week that it was successful in obtaining a $27,000 grant from Xcels Renewable Energy Trust Fund to install a 4-kilowatt, grid-tied photovoltaic panel system on the town hall building.The system will produce an average of about 15 kilowatt-hours per day, and up to about 6,500 kilowatt-hours per year. Any amount of electricity the PV panels generate that Town Hall doesnt need will be sold back to Xcel.This installation will lower the cost of city energy use, as well as carbon emissions, said COREs outreach coordinator, Illne Pevec. By generating this much clean energy, we are eliminating 12,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year. Carbondale will be a cleaner town.Solar Energy International Executive Director Johnny Weiss said the system likely will generate only a portion of town halls electric demands, but its a typical residential-size system that could power a home, and then some.This is about a $40,000 value, he said. Its roughly what many Carbondale homeowners would need to spend to offset their typical electric bills.CORE also recently announced a rebate program of up to $6,000 for homeowners to install a PV system in their homes. From the towns perspective, the grant also comes after a rather contentious renegotiation of the towns franchise agreement with Xcel Energy recently. During the renegotiation, some town trustees said the states largest electric utility company should do more in the arena of alternative energy generation.The franchise agreement allows the utility company to use the towns street rights of way for power lines, and the town is also looking to apply about $60,000 per year in electric franchise agreement fees toward alternative energy and conservation.The town board has set a goal of encouraging energy conservation and alternative energy production, so it is appropriate for Carbondale to have an alternative power source on one of its municipal buildings, Town Manager Tom Baker said upon learning of the grant.Its really great that CORE took the lead in making this happen, he said.Added Pevec, You do have a much better chance to get one of these grants if (Xcel) happens to be your electric provider. In addition, CORE and SEI will fund two scholarships, at $1,200 apiece, for young Carbondale residents to participate in an SEI class that will install the PV panels later this summer.The scholarships are being offered to anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 in the 81623 area code. The workshop will run two weeks, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2, teaching the basics of PV installation. All class participants will be involved in the town hall installation.Workshop participants also need to be able to read, write and speak English. Applications are available through CORE by calling 963-5657, or SEI at 963-8855. The deadline for applications is June 30. In addition to the PV system installation, CORE hopes to have a display set up at town hall explaining how the system works, along with information about the rebate program for homeowners.

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