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Solar array at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Rifle

Solar energy for buildings

CLEER works to increase renewable energy generation in communities we serve, and to support policies that keep renewable energy competitive with grid-supplied power.

Through the Garfield New Energy Communities Initiative in 2009 to 2011, CLEER facilitated direct installations for 13 small-scale solar arrays and provided technical assistance for two larger arrays financed by power purchase agreements. Together, these projects added up to 365 kilowatts of solar generation capacity. Learn more here.

As the manager of services for Garfield Clean Energy from 2012 to the present, CLEER helped local governments set a target of generating 35 percent of the region’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020. CLEER also conducted a study of potential sites for solar installations from Parachute to Carbondale.

In 2014, CLEER organized a workshop for local governments within Xcel Energy service territory on power purchase agreements. It resulted in the Battlement Mesa Metro District and the Town of Silt pursuing solar arrays that, once installed, will generate 100 percent of the annual electric use of their water treatment plants. CLEER is also working with Roaring Fork High School on its solar array. Together, these three projects will add more than 1 megawatt of generating capacity within Garfield County.

CLEER helped launch the solar rebate program for Glenwood Springs Electric in 2009, and continues to manage this program. From 2009 through 2014, solar generating capacity in the utility’s service area grew 10-fold, from 21 kilowatts to more than 200 kilowatts.

CLEER’s experience with solar energy continues to benefit governmental entities, businesses and households. What began as a “1 Megawatt Campaign” for Garfield County in 2009 has become a quest to make as many buildings and facilities net-zero for electricity as possible. The City of Rifle achieved this goal in 2014 and serves as inspiration for neighboring communities.

CLEER's Building Energy Navigator tracks solar energy

Building Energy Navigator live data monitoring systems can be connected to a facility's solar array to capture data about energy production.

City of Rifle hits net-zero for electricity

Navigator annual totals view

This screen view shows the annual totals for all City of Rifle facilities being tracked on the Navigator.

The yellow sections show solar energy generated by the city's arrays. The blue sections in the left side columns are grid-purchased power. The green sections show over-production from the arrays, which is sold back to the utility under a power purchase agreement.

By 2010, the City of Rifle's solar arrays produced virtually all of the electricity used by city facilities, including its water and wastewater treatment plants.