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New programs lower energy bills for San Luis Valley resident

23 Jan. 2018

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New programs lower energy bills for San Luis Valley resident

Free home energy improvements and a new solar program for low-income consumers in the San Luis Valley have provided a welcome ending to Grace's annual worry about how to keep up with expensive winter heating bills.

Grace, 44, is a disabled Alamosa resident who lives in a trailer home that was weatherized this fall through Colorado’s Affordable Residential  Energy program (CARE), managed by Energy Outreach Colorado. Grace also was enrolled as a free, low-income subscriber to a newly-built solar energy project that generates energy through a concentrated garden of panels.

Subscribers to the community solar garden -- those who pay a monthly fee and those that qualify for a free low-income subscription -- receive a credit on their monthly energy bills. Energy Outreach Colorado works to help subscribe low-income residents in the program. Because of the two programs, many participants like Grace no longer need to rely on energy bill payment assistance to keep up with their home energy bills.

“My electric bill has always been a big stress to me and I’ve struggled to afford it,” Grace said. “In the past, by this time in the season I would already owe a couple of hundred dollars and it would be dramatically affecting me.”

In the San Luis Valley, CARE is a partnership between Xcel Energy and the Energy Resource Center. CARE experts installed free storm windows and other energy-efficient improvements in Grace’s home to lower energy costs and increase comfort and safety. “From day one there was a big difference in how my home felt,” she said. “It is not as breezy and cold as it was. I used to feel the air just going out of the windows and me paying for it out of my pocket.”

The San Luis Valley solar garden was developed by Clean Energy Collective, based in Louisville, CO. One condition of getting approval to build it was that five percent of the subscribers in the six-county region be qualified as low-income, free subscribers. The energy produced by the garden is sold to Xcel Energy.

For information about CARE and enrollment in the community solar garden contact Jenna Harmon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 303-226-7064.

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