Solar power generation

Solar power generation is a good way to help save business costs and reduce carbon gas emissions.

Agricultural producers can get free energy audits, renewables assessments and support to reduce their energy thanks to San Isabel Electric and several new clean energy programs from the Colorado Energy Office (CEO).

Family-owned DiSanti Farms, located in Pueblo County, Colorado, is planning to install a 32-kilowatt solar power generation system after receiving a free Agricultural Energy Efficiency (AgEE) energy audit and grant funds from both the State and Federal Government. This system is anticipated to save the farm more than $6,000 annually in electricity costs.

According to farm co-owner Justin DiSanti, “We wanted to manage our high energy costs and the AgEE program did a great job recommending solutions with a strong return on investment. They also helped us apply for grant funding to support the project.”

To reduce commercial energy burdens and lower carbon emissions statewide, the CEO has launched several clean energy programs targeting agricultural, industrial, and cannabis industrial sectors. Together, these sectors account for approximately 30 percent of energy consumption statewide. These programs seek to achieve efficiencies in the energy sector and support Governor Polis’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

San Isabel Electric is looking to enroll more members in the following programs:

 

Agricultural Energy Efficiency (AgEE) program

Colorado farmers and ranchers spend more than $400 million annually on energy, which is approximately 7 percent of the industry’s total expenses. Working in partnership with the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), the CEO launched the Agricultural Energy Efficiency (AgEE) program, which offers agricultural producers a free energy audit, preliminary renewable energy assessment, technical support, and implementation support. SIEA has helped several agricultural members enroll in this program to date and is eager to expand participation.

 

Colorado Industrial Strategic Energy Management (I-SEM) program

The CEO also launched the Colorado Industrial Strategic Energy Management (I-SEM) program, which provides free education workshops and energy management coaching for eligible, large industrial organizations to guide energy performance improvements. According to CEO’s 2017 report, Industrial Energy Efficiency and Distributed Generation Opportunities in Colorado, major industrial operations account for one-third of total energy consumption in the U.S. and over $740 million in annual energy costs in Colorado. The Colorado I-SEM program will help participants establish energy management system elements such as policies, teams and employee engagement processes that yield facility-wide savings. SEM programs across the U.S. and Canada have produced energy savings ranging from 5-20 percent annually without a need for capital improvements. The CEO is currently recruiting industrial businesses for participation in their Southern Colorado program cohort, which will begin September 2020.

 

Colorado Cultivators Energy Management Pilot program

SIEA also participated in the Colorado Cultivators Energy Management Pilot program, which was designed to provide eligible cannabis cultivation businesses located rural electric cooperative territories with no-cost technical energy use assessments to better understand energy use drivers and cost-effective energy management opportunities. A confidential energy-use assessment was performed on site by an experienced energy management professional who investigated lighting, HVAC, dehumidification, fans, control systems and other critical loads. A subsequent summary report was provided, showing current estimated high energy use areas, and presenting opportunities for both operational changes and/or investments in high-efficiency equipment to reduce energy use without major impacts to production metrics. These reports featured available utility rebates, and an assessment of options for renewable energy applications. SIEA’s service territory featured the highest number of program participants in the state, with eight cultivators receiving assessments and reports.

 

SIEA has a suite of tools, such as on-bill financing, project management, and grant writing support, available to both members and non-members. For more information, please call 719-647-6204 or email laura.getts@siea.com.

While SIEA is actively engaging members for participation these programs, all southern Colorado businesses are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the CEO’s Program Manager Wil Mannes, who can be reached at wil.mannes@state.co.us or 303-866-2418.

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