When I first met her, Dorothy Riley was yawning in the early morning sunlight on the grounds of what was to become GRID Alternatives’ first-ever community solar array. Although she was, justifiably tired at 6:45AM the first morning of the installation event, it was easy to read Ms. Riley’s emotions -- she was tremendously excited and anxious to begin powering her home with the clean, renewable solar electricity that will be generated through the 29kW solar array located on the existing Grand Valley Power Solar Farm in Grand Junction, Colorado. Dorothy immediately signed up for community solar the moment she heard about the project on the local 5o’clock news. “I couldn’t be more grateful that I qualified and get to participate.” She could not be more humble and plans to pay off her credit cards with the utility savings provided by her solar energy subscription. Her portion of this community solar array will offset nearly 90% of her energy usage!
Clients participating in GRID’s pilot community (or shared) solar array work directly with our outreach team to determine their qualifications including a maximum income requirement and ability to ‘buy-into’ their systems through a Sweat Equity process. Ms. Riley chose to volunteer at GRID Colorado’s Solarthon event in which 112 solar modules were installed over a two day period (for pictures, check out our FLICKR album).
The Grand Valley Power community solar array is now up and running… each day, the 112 solar modules and micro-inverters are producing usable, clean and renewable solar electrical energy. The eight families who qualified for this community solar project are now receiving the financial and environmental benefits of solar and have become solar advocates themselves! GRID Alternatives will continue working to increase access to renewable energy technologies here in Colorado, across the country, and even internationally.