Steamboat Springs, CO – Routt County and the City of Steamboat Springs announced today a regional collaboration with nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN) to launch the Northwest Solar Co-op to help Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco County residents and small businesses go solar.
“Helping community members access rooftop solar will benefit our economy and build local resiliency,” said Tim Corrigan, Routt County Commissioner. “The solar co-op also plays an important role in furthering the county’s Climate Action Plan (CAP), which aims to reduce carbon emissions and their risk to our health, our economy, and our way of life.”
The co-op is free to join and open to both homeowners and business owners in Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco Counties. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a competitive price and top quality.
“Launching a solar Co-op in Northwest Colorado is one way to ensure that families and individuals are not left behind as we transition our energy economy,” said Robin Crossan, Steamboat Springs City Council President. “The Co-op will make going solar more affordable and will allow households to save money on their energy bills in the long-term.”
After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, which is vendor neutral, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels based on the installer’s group rate.
“We are excited to be partnering on a program that offers Yampa Valley residents additional ways to take individual actions to address climate change,” said Michelle Stewart, Executive Director of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. “Distributed solar is a great way to expedite decarbonization of our energy system.”
Funding for the program has been provided by Routt County, the City of Steamboat Springs, and the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, with other partners including the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Meeker Chamber of Commerce, Craig Chamber of Commerce, and Alpine Bank.
“We know solar is only a puzzle piece to helping address the transition our electricity system is facing,” said Bryce Carter, Colorado program director for Solar United Neighbors. “Through our Northwest Solar Co-op, we are glad to be a partner in the community to help expand the benefits of solar energy, including energy and economic resiliency, for families and small businesses across the region.”
Solar United Neighbors has hosted 13 solar co-ops in Colorado since 2019. According to the group’s estimates, 317 homes and businesses have gone solar with the program, representing 2.1 MW of solar power, $6.2 million in local solar spending, and will support more than 47,000 tons of lifetime carbon offsets.
SUN will host several free information sessions to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op in Hayden, Craig, and Meeker in the coming months. Details to be announced.
Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the co-op web page solarunitedneighbors.org/northwest.