By Lucas Vader
The Surface Creek Animal Shelter plans to go green later this month with the installation of solar panels. It will do this with the help of a nonprofit organization called RE-volv, which acts as the middleman for solar companies and nonprofit organizations which would like to install solar power.
The shelter’s solar power setup will be through Empowered Energy Systems LLC out of Hotchkiss, Animal Shelter President Bruce Joss explained. The installation of the solar panels, which is a cost of several thousand dollars, is covered by RE-volv’s financing resources. In turn, RE-volv will own, manage and maintain the shelter’s system.
“Because the system they’re going to install on the shelter — I think it has 17 panels — I can’t give you an exact number, but that’s a $20,000 plus installation,” Joss said. “If we were to do this ourselves — we being the shelter — we would have to come up with that $20,000 plus.” In that case, the shelter would own and manage the solar power equipment.
However, with RE-volv’s deal, the installation will cost the animal shelter no money up front and RE-volv will own and manage the system. As the solar setup generates power, the shelter will buy that power from RE-volv at a reduced rate as long as RE-volv continues to own the equipment.
The deal comes with multiple opportunities for the shelter to buy the equipment from RE-volv over the next 20 years, at which point, the shelter would no longer be buying solar energy from RE-volv. Joss said, since RE-volv will manage the system as long as it owns in, he doesn’t foresee a time when the shelter would buy the equipment.
After the installation of the solar panels, the shelter will continue to use DMEA as backup power during peak times when the solar panels can’t produce enough power. Of course, the solar panels will shrink the shelter’s DMEA bill, as it will act as the primary power source.
The deal between the Surface Creek Animal Shelter and RE-volv began after Joss reached out to RE-volv Senior Solar Account Manager Mark Matos, based out of San Fransisco, California. Matos sent back a proposal based off Joss’ information on the shelter.
Matos’ proposal gave the terms of the system, which would allegedly produce 8,173 kWh annually, which is a 101% offset. RE-volv would sell this energy to the shelter for $0.117 per kilowatt-hour and proposed $60 savings in the first year. RE-volv will also cover all warranties, operations and maintenance.
The solar setup Matos proposed to Joss would allegedly have a lifetime electricity savings “upwards of $12,000” and a lifetime carbon dioxide offset of 296,000 pounds. The proposal compared this offset to planting 2,200 tree seedlings or taking 5,900 cars off the road.
“We believe in a world where all people are thriving in communities powered by clean energy,” the proposal concluded, while listing benefits of saving money and protecting the environment.
RE-volv claimed to have signed solar leases with 25 nonprofits in eight states, accounting for 316 kW of installed capacity.
“This will eliminate over 14 million pounds of CO2 in the atmosphere,” the proposal said.
Now, Empowered Energy Systems, LLC, is scheduled to perform the installation beginning on April 21 and it estimates it will take two to three days. Surface Creek Animal Shelter will then go forward leasing the system from RE-volv, paying less and making less of a carbon footprint in the world.