With plans to achieve a 100MW pipeline in 2012, Martifer Solar USA has reported a success at its 460kW system in Breckenridge, Colorado. The company claims the arrays have been consistently performing at an average of 10% above expectations since their commissioning in January.
Working with Breckenridge-based solar firm Innovative Energy, Martifer Solar USA built both rooftop and ground-mounted arrays across Breckenridge maintenance, recreation, and law enforcement facilities. “In terms of local job creation, this was the ideal partnership,” stated Eric Westerhoff, president of Innovative Energy.
The project was structured as a Power Purchase Agreement, in which Renewable Social Benefit Funds covered 100% of installation costs and is responsible for system maintenance. The agreement thus eliminated any use of public funds for upfront or ongoing expenses. The town pays for the power generated at each site, at a rate lower than what they had been paying to their utility provider and well below projected rises in the price of fossil fuel over the lifetime of the system. The arrangement allowed Breckenridge to respond to citizens’ interest in creating a more sustainable community without adversely affecting its budget.
“We are protecting ourselves from climate change, which can affect the precious snowfalls that make Breckenridge such an attractive tourist destination and place to live. And that feels pretty good,” stated Town of Breckenridge financial services manager Brian Waldes.
“Both the Town Staff and Council are extremely proud of what we have achieved with this solar project,” continued Waldes. “We always knew that this project would work well for the Town in terms of energy and financial savings, but actually seeing it in action has been even more rewarding than we had hoped.”
Breckenridge Mayor Dr. John Warner credits the success of the system to the close collaboration among Martifer Solar USA, Innovative Energy, project financier Renewable Social Benefit Funds, and local officials and residents. “It was truly a group effort to customize the design, development, construction, and maintenance of these arrays to precisely fit the needs of Breckenridge,” he stated. “Even with challenges presented by our high alpine environment, we are excited that the system is performing above expectations.”
“Solar was a natural and profitable solution to Breckenridge’s energy needs,” stated Kent James, chief strategy officer for Martifer Solar USA, Inc. “With the decision to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions, Breckenridge improved cash flow under tight budget conditions, promoted economic growth, and demonstrated ways of working towards sustainability without high capital investment.”
The system is expected to offset approximately one-tenth of the town’s total annual electricity consumption. The resulting taxpayer savings amount to nearly US$1 million over 20 years, Martifer Solar USA claims.