Solar energy rebate system a hit in Glenwood

Glenwood Springs resident Elizabeth Phillips had been waiting for the day when the city’s electrical utility would offer rebates to help offset the cost of installing solar power systems.

Evidently, a lot of others were waiting as well. On Feb. 2, the first day of an application period that was to run through March 20 for a pilot solar rebate program, applications from residents and commercial property owners exceeded available funding by more than 2-1.

That has prompted organizers to schedule a lottery for Feb. 25 to determine which applicants can receive rebates upon meeting certain requirements, and which will go on a waiting list. Applicants need not be present to win.

Phillips said her home gets “a tremendous amount of sun, a tremendous amount of sun.”
“We’re very encouraged that Glenwood Springs is making moves in this direction toward clean energy and solar power,” she said.

The city and Governor’s Energy Office contributed $45,000 each to the program. The money will fund rebates of $3 per watt up to a total of 30 kilowatts of installed solar power.

Seven businesses applied for rebates for a total of 34 kilowatts, and 13 homeowners sought rebates for a total of 39 kilowatts.

City Council member Russ Arensman said in a news release, “The overwhelming response to this one-time solar incentives program demonstrates the pent-up demand for renewable energy projects here.

“I’m really hopeful that the city can identify a permanent funding source to support additional programs to help us reduce our reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuels.”

The city’s utility serves Glenwood Springs and some nearby areas. Neighboring utility customers of Holy Cross Energy and Xcel Energy already benefit from solar power rebate programs.

Phillips said she’s been disappointed that the city hasn’t offered a program before now, and also wishes that the pilot program offered more money.

Still, she said, “It’s a good start.”

She said she applied for the maximum amount allowed under the rebate, for a system that would provide about 60 percent of her home’s electricity needs.

“Definitely the rebate makes it possible,” she said.

She also would be able to receive a federal tax credit and a rebate from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency in Aspen.

The pilot program will more than double the amount of solar power being generated in the city utility’s service area, raising it to a total of more than 50 kilowatts.


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