by Pam Zubeck
A local company started by a Colorado College grad has inked a deal with Colorado Springs School District 11 to build a solar garden on D-11 land.
SunShare built the Colorado Springs Community Solar Garden, the first public-private partnership of its kind in the nation, at Venetucci Farm last year. It has 300 households and schools as subscribers, and is subscribing a second project.
The D-11 deal was approved by the school board Wednesday night.
Here's SunShare's press release about it:
In another move for national firsts, SunShare announces its partnership with Colorado Springs School District 11 to build its next community solar garden. The project will be the first of its kind in the nation to be built in conjunction with a public school.
- The Independent
- David Amster-Olszewski: Growing a business.
The 2,500-panel solar garden will be built on a previously unusable piece of D-11 land located north of McAuliffe Elementary School. Its south-facing slope was unsuitable for school expansion, but is perfect for solar. Construction will begin this summer, and is expected to be complete before school resumes in the fall.
The solar garden is already 90% sold out to homeowners and schools across El Paso County, and will provide carbon-free energy for the District, helping to offset over $100,00 of their utility costs in the first 20 years. Each solar panel lease costs $550, with 10 panels powering 50% of the average Colorado Springs home, saving over $10,000 in rising electricity costs. The whole project will save Colorado Springs’ families $2.5 million over 20 years.
In return for the land, SunShare will pay the school district a combination of cash and solar panels, feeding power directly into the school, and saving the district money on it's electric bills for the next 30-50 years.
"Responsible energy management is a key focus for District 11 as we work to demonstrate fiscal prudence and financial responsibility. This partnership with SunShare will help our district recognize energy savings, while allowing both organizations to maintain high levels of organizational social responsibility," says District 11 Deputy Superintendent Glenn Gustafson.
“We are thrilled to be working with the District on this community solar garden. Together we can bring more solar energy to more households in the community, in a location that facilitates learning about the importance of renewable resources,” says SunShare founder and CEO David Amster-Olszewski.
Started in Colorado Springs, community solar gardens are gaining legislative traction in states across the country, including California, Texas, Maryland, Delaware, New York, and 8 others.