Solar power was once associated with the wealthy and privileged, but plummeting costs have some analysts predicting price parity with coal and natural gas within the next decade. But one Colorado co-op utility isn’t waiting that long, breaking ground on a new solar power farm that will provide clean electricity to low-income families, and it could help cut their electricity bills by as much as 90%.
SolarEnergy.net reports that the 25 kWh solar farm can provide enough electricity for the daily needs of 6 to 10 low-income families, and it will be run by an energy cooperative called Grand Valley Power. “With this solar [farm] model, Grand Valley Power is really able to ensure that the value of solar electricity generation are staying with people who need it most,” said Kristina Sickles, the development director for the non-profit solar group Grid Alternatives in Colorado, who helped leverage a two-for-one deal for solar panels from SunEdison.
Grand Valley Power has even managed to set up a fixed-price plan of just $30 a month that ensures the co-op can maintain its solar array, while providing low-cost, clean energy to people who need it most. In addition to the $30 monthly fee, residents will have to pay just 2-cents per kWh they use, far lower than the 11-cents per kWh Grand Valley Power normally charges. That ends up saving low-income residents hundreds of dollars a year, which can make all the difference at the end of the day.