by Pam Zubeck
SunShare, a local start-up building solar community gardens, announced Monday that its project at Venetucci Farms south of Colorado Springs is fully subscribed. It's also fully operational and providing power to the Colorado Springs Utilities grid.
Headed by Colorado College graduate David Amster-Olszewski, SunShare recently sold the remaining 509 solar panels from the project to Colorado Springs School.
The school said in a news release:
In a historic decision, The Colorado Springs School has purchased 115 kW of solar energy through the Sun Share leasing program, recently constructed at Venetucci Farms. This project provides a quarter of CSS’s electrical energy needs. It also represents one of the largest commitments to solar energy among Colorado schools, and possibly the first school in the United States to draw more than 100 kW from a “community solar garden.”
“The combination of rebates, low panel costs, and efficiencies of scale make this a timely and responsible financial decision,“ states head of school, Kevin Reel. “It demonstrates the school’s commitment to making innovative decisions with the well-being of the community and future generations in mind.”
The contribution of solar energy at CSS is further maximized by the fact that the school has recently undergone a careful energy-saving program as part of the “Green Cup Challenge” sponsored by the Green Schools Alliance, a nation-wide collaboration among independent schools to save energy.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Colorado Springs School. The board, faculty, and students have shown time and time again their dedication to the future and excitement for cutting-edge educational opportunities,” said SunShare CEO and founder, David Amster-Olszewski. After CSS bought the final solar panels in the Venetucci solar garden, SunShare is moving forward with development of its second solar garden in Colorado Springs, expected to be operational this spring.
The federal government supplies a 30% rebate on production costs for renewable energy systems, such as the community solar garden at Venetucci. Up to December 20, 2011, Colorado Springs Utility also provided a 30% rebate on renewable energy costs.
SunShare has taken reservations for nearly 50 percent of its second planned project in Colorado Springs.