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Solarize Delta County nears halfway mark

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Installers from Empowered Energy Systems, LLC of Hotchkiss just finished the first installation in a series of new solar PV systems springing up around Delta County. A brand new 25 kilowatt commercial system now sits atop workspace solutions ProSpace's roof in Delta. The system is sized to produce some 35,000 kwh/year of energy. To put that into perspective, that's equivalent to offsetting 60,000 miles of emissions by an average passenger vehicle or the carbon sequestered by 23.2 acres of local forest, each year.

The federal tax credit of 30 percent, combined with annual deductions for commercial clients (Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System), made the investment a "no-brainer" said ProSpace Interiors, and Delta County Economic Development (DCED) vice president, Tom Huerkamp. The added incentive of Solarize tiered rebates only sweetened the deal. "It just makes economic sense to do this, and then there is the community reason to do it," he said.

Solarize Delta County is a nonprofit outreach program sponsored by Solar Energy International in partnership with DCED, to increase the accessibility and affordability of solar energy for all Delta County residents. Solarize Delta County seeks to raise awareness of solar, lower the cost of solar electric (PV) systems, and significantly ramp up adoption of PV throughout Delta County.

More energy produced locally means more money that stays in the community, and with it the potential for job creation. The program is an expansion of the 2015 Solarize North Fork Valley effort that resulted in over $400,000 of local investment in solar and installation of 23 residential systems, totaling 120kW. The local installers hired six new employees to handle the demand.

Whether the motivation is energy independence, reducing carbon footprint, or plain economic sense, more residents in Delta County are flipping the switch to produce their own affordable solar energy, thanks to Solarize Delta County.

Solarize Delta County is nearing the halfway point of a three-month outreach program, with 55 homes and businesses currently registered for a free remote site assessment to learn more about going solar. The program offers a tiered rebate system that increases savings as more neighbors sign contracts to install PV systems. Already the program is a fourth of the way to its first rebate level of 100kW of total contracted solar, where participants will receive an additional $400 off per system.

Interested residents can register by July 15 to participate and receive a free remote site assessment, to learn about their solar options and assist with identifying financing options.

Events for June

Solarize Delta County is hosting outreach and social events to educate and guide potential solar candidates through a streamlined assessment and installation process. All events are free and neighbors are encouraged to attend to learn more about going solar, the Solarize way:

June 8 -- "Reduce then Produce" energy efficiency event with DMEA, Cedaredge Library, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

June 13 -- Solar cocktail hour/meet the installers, Old Mad Dog Cafe, Crawford, 5 to 7 p.m.

June 14 -- "Reduce then Produce" energy efficiency event with DMEA, Hotchkiss Memorial Hall, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

June 18 -- Solar and wine tour of Mesa Winds Farm & Winery and Alfred Eames Cellars, with guided van leaving Solar Energy International at 1 p.m. You are welcome to drive separately.

June 20 -- Screening of "Catching the Sun" at Paradise Theatre.

June 21 -- Hotchkiss Chamber Business After Hours at Hotchkiss Fire Station. Meet the installers and learn about the fire station's PV solar system, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information or to participate go to http://www.solarenergy.org/solarize-delta-county/ or "like" Solarize Delta County on Facebook.

SEI contacts are Gerald or Marla at 527-7657, ext. 213.

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