For David Amster-Olszewski, it was a realized dream, attended by Governor John Hickenlooper and supported by the crowd of hundreds that turned out for the groundbreaking ceremony of his company’s first project.
For RGS Energy (the commercial division of Real Goods Solar), it was approximately the 12,000th time mounting the first solar panel in an array. But it was also the chance to be the company that installed the very first Colorado Springs solar farm.
Only four months earlier, SunShare, Amster-Olszewski’s fledgling company, was just getting off the ground with the goal of providing concentrated solar panel arrays to provide power to people who want to pay less for clean electricity but can’t or won’t get panels installed at home. On November 29, 2011, the first panel at SunShare’s first solar farm – this 575 kW array in Colorado Springs – was mounted by Governor Hickenlooper himself. By the end of the calendar year, the farm will be powering portions of hundreds of area homes.
Amster-Olszewski and SunShare didn’t plan on Colorado Springs as the location for its big coming out party, but the interest and ambition from the city council and Colorado Springs Utilities made it an easy decision. The Utility was prepared to offer electricity bill discounts to residents leasing solar panels from the farm, and the demand has been high – none of the 2,500 solar panels are available to lease.
The Pikes Peak Community Foundation provided the land – at Venetucci Farm – in exchange for solar panels to supplement Venetucci’s own electricity use. RGS Energy was hired for the installation and is thrilled to bring solar power to Colorado Springs on a large scale.
The Colorado Springs solar farm was such a success that SunShare commissioned a second one at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in 2012.