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The City of Lafayette's 1 Megawatt Solar Garden Project - Panel Raising Event

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Published on Oct 18, 2013

Lafayette Colorado's new 1MW Solar Garden

This project was funded through the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Program and Community Energy Solar with no cost to Lafayette taxpayers. The Panel Raising Ceremony and informational tour was held on October 17, 2013 at the new solar garden site in recognition of this innovative project and the future sustainability benefits it will bring to the Lafayette community. For additional information regarding the City of Lafayette sustainability projects visit www.cityoflafayette.com/GoGreen

October 2013 -- In August 2012 the City of Lafayette, working with renewable energy development partner Community Energy Solar, was accepted into Xcel Energy's innovative Solar*Rewards program to construct a solar garden site generating a total of one megawatt of electricity. City facilities and local businesses will utilize the majority of electricity generated by this garden resulting in annual cost savings, the offset of 1,034 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of planting 27,883 trees, and placing 213 zero-emission passenger vehicles on the road. In addition, discounted electricity output will be offered to 25-30 low-income Lafayette households who will receive up to 50% off their monthly Xcel bills. 3,300 solar panels will be installed at the new 12 acre site, making it five times the size of the existing adjacent garden. All this at no cost to Lafayette taxpayers.

According to Curt Cheesman, Director of Recreation, Senior Services and Facility Management, "The Xcel Solar Rewards project is a unique, cutting edge opportunity that reinforces Lafayette's identity as an environmentally forward community. It's gratifying to see our vision, efforts, and focus continuing to expand in the solar arena."

Lafayette is a leader in Colorado for clean energy implementation. They were first in the state to collaborate with the Governor's Office to complete a comprehensive energy audit encompassing all municipal facilities. This project produced $1.2 million in energy improvements resulting in energy cost savings to the city and an annual reduction of 966 tons of carbon dioxide. Lafayette is currently involved in renewable energy generation through five solar photovoltaic systems on city owned facilities, as well as a methane gas project at the water reclamation plant generating heat for a portion of the wastewater treatment process. Three electric vehicle charging stations will be in place by the end of the month and three electric bike charging stations are available offering free charging locations throughout town. Additionally, the formation of a seven member Lafayette Energy Sustainability Advisory Committee has provided assistance to identify goals and strategies to reduce Lafayette's contribution to total global greenhouse gas emission.

"The City of Lafayette has been a champion of renewable energy in Colorado for many years. This project allows for the further expansion of the City's leadership and provides a unique opportunity for some of its low-income residents to participate in free green energy. We are proud to partner with such a visionary and forward-thinking municipality,"
said Eric Blank, President of Community Energy Solar, LLC one of two partners collaborating with the City on the power project.

"We could not be more proud to be a part of two, clean, community oriented solar projects which are just down the
road from our headquarters. This is the greenest of the green--local jobs building fuel-free solar power that will serve the community for decades," said Jim Welch, Bella Energy CEO, a second partner in the project.

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