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Net metering legislation, project success driving community solar gardens

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The Clean Energy Collective and Martifer Solar are partnering on more than 1 MW of community-owned solar garden projects. This is the beginning of a pipeline of more than 5 MW to be built in 2012.

The companies in 2011 completed the 858 kW Garfield County Airport solar array, which at the time was the largest community-owned solar garden in the country. The Garfield County Solar Array was awarded the 2012 Photovoltaic Project of Distinction Award by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Solar Electric Power Association based on the positive response and high level of participation in the project.

A newer project between the companies, located in Colarado's San Miguel Power Association and Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association territories is expected to be the largest community-owned solar array in the nation when completed -- surpassing the Garfield County Airport array -- at 1.15 MW.

The community-owned solar projects are being driven by net metering legislation and success stories in Colorado. Further, Martifer contends that community-owned solar has the potential to bring clean energy to five times more customers than traditional residential ownership.

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