Another Uncompahgre Solar Co-op virtual information session will take place Thursday night from 6-7:30 p.m. This week’s session will cover financing options for those interested in going solar and joining the co-op. To register, visit us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dovXvHXJSCiQgQAnZEN3dQ or the “Events” tab on the Town of Mountain Village website at townofmountainvillage.com.

Other than sharing information about the co-op membership, officials will be introducing the community to the selected installer, Atlasta Solar Center. Solar Energy International’s (SEI) Solar Forward Program Manager Ellen Ross will also speak on different financing options for solar and efficiency potential members can access. Solar Forward is an outreach program from SEI, an educational nonprofit based in Paonia.

Ross said the co-up has been “going well” so far, as membership continues to increase.

“There are 80 Uncompahgre Solar Co-op members, it is free to join the co-op and receive the group discount, and the co-op is still open until May 1,” she explained. “The community members will have some time to consider the contract provided to them by the solar installer, and if it suits them, they are eligible for the group discount.”

SEI is working with fellow nonprofit Solar United Neighbors (SUN) and others to provide financing options and information to members, as well as rebates for Mountain Village and unincorporated San Miguel County residents.

“Solar United Neighbors is vendor neutral, so I will be providing financing options, so folks know what may be available. Colorado Clean Energy Fund representatives will be in attendance to answer questions about their financing product. I will discuss how Alpine Bank has a green lending product designed to facilitate solar investments, and the Elevations Credit Union also offers low interest rates without early payoff penalties,” Ross said. “The Colorado Property-Assessed Clean Energy (CPACE) program finances businesses' solar projects, including ag producers, as well as other efficiency projects. I will direct folks interested in more commercial information to the webinar we did in early March with CPACE, since it will explain it better. Something that I always make sure people remember is that energy efficiency retrofits can also be bundled with solar financing.

“None of this is intended as financial advice and people are encouraged to speak with their local credit union or financial advisor for more details on what is the best product for them. There are also rebates for residents in the Town of Mountain Village and unincorporated San Miguel County, in an effort to make an investment in solar more affordable for more community members.”

SUN had a successful 2021 solar co-op with the Town of Mountain Village, resulting in 15 new solar installations, and 72kW of clean, distributed generation for those homes, according to a previous news release. Hot on the heels of that first successful solar co-op the Town of Mountain Village saw the potential to help more homeowners benefit from the economics of a group buy-in program. In 2021, SUN and Mountain Village were able to pilot a rebate for deed-restricted housing, making $5,000 available for each of those nine deed-restricted households that may not have been able to access solar otherwise. The second solar co-op will offer the same $5,000 rebate for deed-restricted households in Mountain Village.

San Miguel County, working with EcoAction Partners, also reached out to the organizations as it looks to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions while spurring economic development.

“San Miguel County has a longstanding goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning the energy consumption within the county to renewables wherever possible. We are excited to partner with Solar Forward and SUN to provide residents and businesses across the entire county with the chance to more affordably install solar on their homes,” said Sheamus Croke, the county's COVID-19 recovery funding coordinator.