Not too good to be true: Meeker Solar Garden panels available

MEEKER I The deadline to lease a solar panel in the Meeker Solar Garden has been extended to April 7.
White River Electric Association extended the deadline by one week to make sure all of its members had an opportunity to learn about the program. Members may find additional information on the Meeker Solar Garden and find lease applications at or at the WREA office.

The WREA Meeker Solar Garden will be located at 450 School Street with 195 panels available for annual lease to members. The remaining panels are leased to the Meeker School District in exchange for the use of the solar garden site.
The 2016 annual lease fee is $36 with an annual solar production credit of $60. The result is a $24 net annual benefit.
“It isn’t too good to be true, and there isn’t a catch,” said WREA General Manager Alan Michalewicz.
Solar garden efficiencies and economics have improved over the years which make this project possible. The WREA Solar Garden will not impact WREA rates.
The business model maximizes efficiencies and economies of scale for the benefit of the WREA membership. The solar garden will pay for itself over the life of the project. The WREA board and management have been diligent in WREA’s entry into renewables.
“We have an obligation to be fiscally responsible and only advance projects that make good business sense for WREA and its membership,”Michalewicz said.
The Meeker Solar Garden creates an opportunity for a low-cost investment in solar that yields an instant return. The Meeker Solar Garden will also assist in compliance with Colorado mandates for local renewable projects.
WREA will own, operate and maintain the Meeker Solar Garden, including the individual panels. There are no tax credits associated with the lease of a solar panel. Members with an active meter on a residential or small commercial rate are eligible to lease a solar panel.
Applications for panel leases are due April 7. If WREA receives more applications than available panels, WREA will select leases from a lottery drawing, not on a first-come basis.
If panels remain un-leased, WREA will notify members that additional panels are available for lease.
In April, WREA will notify all solar panel applicants if they have been issued a solar panel lease and provide them a lease for review, signature and payment.
Signed leases must be returned to WREA by May 1.