New Solar Garden Nearly Operational

September 18, 2012

Solar generated power continues to grow in Colorado Springs. Today a small crew and a few church members helped assemble Sun Share’s second community solar garden on 4 acres of unused land. KRCC’s Katherine-Claire O’Connor reports.

[AUDIO:http://radiocoloradocollege.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/091812_0604_KCO_sunshare.mp3]

In a dirt lot adjacent to Good Shepherd United Methodist church in southeast Colorado Springs, 2500 solar panels are being affixed to tall slanted metal bleachers. CEO of the venture David Amster–Olszewski says unlike their first solar garden at Venetucci Farm, this new one butts up to a neighborhood. Many residents have leased panels and Amser-Olszewski says they’ve largely welcomed their new silent neighbor.

There won’t be any apartment buildings or parties or cars or noise in this project for the next 20 years. So I think they really saw that as a benefit to their community, as opposed to building condominiums or apartment buildings.

Church trustee Loy Jones is working with the solar company. Donned in a hardhat and a bright yellow construction vest, he’s helping unload panels with the work crew. Jones says about half the church members live in Fountain and don’t use Colorado Springs Utilities. That means they can’t take advantage of the project.

So I tell them, ‘Hang in there have patience, because hopefully Fountain will have this type of Solar garden before too long’. This is not only a good investment, but a good environmental strategy for everyone.

The church was unsuccessful in previous attempts to develop the land. In exchange, Jones says Sun Share will give the church solar credits to help eliminate their utility costs for over 50 years. Out of the 2500 panels being installed only 300 are left for lease.