Solar farm expands at Eagle County maintenance facility
GYPSUM — Imagine having an acre of fertile ground, but only planting crops on less than half of it.
That’s not something a farmer would do and it’s a good analogy for what’s happening on the roof of the Eagle County Maintenance Facility on Cooley Mesa Road in Gypsum.
The south-facing, metal-seam roof at the building is prime real estate for solar collection. This week, the Gypsum Town Council approved a special use permit to allow expansion of an existing system.
Last year Eagle County contracted with Sunsense Solar Inc. of Carbondale for 30kW solar photovoltaic system at the site. Once the array was placed on the roof, the company and the county came to the same conclusion — there was a lot more available real estate for expansion. To be precise, there was room for another 42 kW system.
“We weren’t exactly sure how much space we would have during the original construction,” Eagle County Sustainable Communities Director Adam Palmer said. “When you have a due south-facing, metal-seam roof, this just makes sense.”
“The county maintenance building is a pretty innovative building. Most of it is semi-heated garage space,” Palmer continued.
The building’s heating system is fueled with a used oil furnace and with the solar panels on the roof. The building generates as much energy as it uses. In fact, with the new panels, the building will generate excess energy that the county can apply toward energy bills at some of its other sites.
Palmer said the original installation was budgeted to cost $60,000 and the expansion is estimated to cost $94,000. The payback on the system’s capital cost is estimated at 12 years.
“What we are trying to do, moving forward, is to manage all our energy use, not only at the maintenance facility but at all our facilities,” Palmer said. “This is a good project that offsets our electrical use.”
Crews are expected to begin work at the site in February.–
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User