CDC meeting to highlight USDA help with solar garden


By Muriel Eason

Special to The SUN

The next meeting of the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation takes place at the PLPOA Vista Conference Room, 230 Port Ave., at 5.30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7.

April Dahlager, Colorado program director of rural development for the USDA, will discuss organization options and USDA assistance that might be available to create a solar power harvested, community solar garden. The USDA is looking for a suitable renewable energy project to fund.

Plan to attend and learn more about how USDA programs could further Archuleta County’s renewable energy future.

Solar gardens

A solar garden is a centralized solar electric array, with multiple subscribers connected to the local utility grid. Subscribers can purchase a portion of the power produced by the array and receive a credit on their electric bill for electricity sold back into the grid from the solar array. Utility customers within the solar garden’s service area, including residences, businesses, local governments, non-profits and faith-based organizations, can subscribe to power from the sun and use it for solar hot water systems.

Unlike big power plants, a solar garden is a distributed power generation project. Distributing power production provides benefits to communities beyond local, clean and more affordable energy. It creates jobs locally, avoids destroying delicate habitats and bypasses the need for inefficient transmission lines, which lose power during transmission and can take many years to put in place. It helps ensure that the benefits of renewable energy go to the person who needs the power.