Silt celebrates grand opening of new solar arrays on 3 town buildings
SILT – The town of Silt’s three new solar electric systems were switched on this week, and a grand opening celebration held Thursday drew a crowd of clean energy supporters.
“This is a great example to show other folks,” said acting town administrator Davis Farrar. “I’m hopeful it will be replicated in other places.”
“I want to thank the other communities in Garfield County for helping us achieve this goal,” said Bobby Hays, Silt’s lead representative to the Garfield NECI advisory board. “We couldn’t have done it on our own.”
Silt’s three arrays are mounted on Town Hall, Silt Senior Housing and on the town’s wastewater treatment plant. All three systems have 39 solar electric panels, each capable of generating 9 kilowatts of electricity in full sunshine – enough power to light up more than 600 energy-efficient light bulbs.
Together, the systems are expected to save the town about $3,500 a year on its electric bills.
The Silt arrays are three of the 16 solar electric projects that the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative (NECI) is installing from Parachute to Carbondale, using grant money from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and renewable energy rebates from Xcel Energy.
Silt public works director Gerry Pace noted two advantages to the solar projects: They have put local people to work, and they will lower the electric bills for public buildings.
“When you add these projects up countywide, the taxpayers are saving quite a bit of money,” Pace said.
Solar installer Ed Cortez of El Sol Solar agreed. “As the cost of electricity goes higher in the coming years, you will be saying, ‘This was a smart thing to do.'”
Meredith Robinson, Silt’s alternate on the Garfield NECI advisory board, said, “These projects bring jobs and business growth to this area, and they demonstrate that government can make a difference.”
Joe Carter, regional assistant for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, said funding for the Garfield NECI grant came from state mineral severance taxes and federal mineral lease funds.
“We try to give that money back to the communities that are impacted by energy and mineral development,” Carter said. “And we hope to be a partner in the future on more projects.”
For more information on the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative’s solar arrays and energy efficiency programs for households, businesses and governments, visit http://www.GarfieldCleanEnergy.org.
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