Gov. John Hickenlooper will help install the first solar panels on SunShare's solar array at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The ceremony will take place at the solar array site at 5210 S. Highway 85 where SunShare will break ground on the first community solar garden since the City Council approved a tariff for the company this fall.
On hand for the groundbreaking at the Venetucci Farm will be everybody who's anybody, including Mayor Steve Bach, Council President Scott Hente, President Pro Tem Jan Martin, Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, State Rep. Pete Lee and a bunch of other people.
From SunShare's press release:
SunShare is the start-up company that has contracted with Colorado Springs Utilities and Pikes Peak Community Foundation, who owns Venetucci Farm, to develop the Colorado Springs Community Solar Garden, the first public-private partnership of its kind in the nation.
SunShare will install 2,500 panels for community use in the solar garden at the Venetucci Farm. The panel are available for lease to all customers of Colorado Springs Utilities. "The communty solar garden allows citizens to participate in solar, without the average $25,000 upfront cost of a set of panels on their own roof," SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski said. "Leasing two panels can reduce the average electric bill by ten percent."
Colorado Springs Utilities will provide a monetary incentive, up to 30 percent of the panel cost, for customers that subscribe to the community solar garden.
SunShare plans to build gardens in other cities on the Front Range.
Clean Energy Collective of Carbondale also plans to build a community solar garden here under a different business model which includes selling, not leasing, solar panels.