July 2010 - Holy Cross Energy (Colorado) broke ground on an 80 kW solar array in El Jebel, Colorado. Holy Cross's residential and commercial customers can purchase shares (watts) of the solar array upfront at a cost of $3.15 per watt ($3,150 per kilowatt). Community owners will then receive a credit on their bill each month at a rate of $0.11 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The kWh production owners are credited with is based on the actual production by the number of how many watts each member owns. Because operation and maintenance costs are included in the upfront cost, owners will receive the monthly benefits for a term of 50 years. The Carbondale, Colorado-based Clean Energy Collective originated, developed and is managing the program with Sunsense Solar Electric managing the construction of the array.
A number of community solar programs have been developed recently, particularly in the Northwest. Community solar programs allow customers to purchase a share of a solar system, and receive the benefits of the energy that is produced by their share. Ashland, Oregon, Ellensburg, Washington, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), California, St. George, Utah, and Bainbridge Island, Washington all have community solar programs ranging in total size from 5 kW (Bainbridge Island) to 1 MW (SMUD). Florida Keys Electric Coop also offers a Simple Solar Program.
Additional information - Community-Owned Solar Garden Launches in Roaring Fork Valley
Additional information - The Northwest Community Solar Guide (PDF 4.8 MB) Download Adobe Reader