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Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
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Walking Mountains Sustainability Blog

The Greater Eagle Fire Protection District Goes Solar!

Posted by Kimberly Schlaepfer on Nov 8, 2018 1:15:43 PM
Kimberly Schlaepfer

Eagle Fire District Installs Solar PV on Roof

A new solar array on the roof of Greater Eagle Fire Protection District is projected to generate 57% of annual energy use

The Greater Eagle Fire Protection District recently turned on a 26.1 kW Solar PV system on their roof. The PV system is expected to generate 57% of the annual energy use of the Fire Station. We visited with the fire Chief Doug Cupp, and Board Member Eric Peterson to learn more about the system!

 

Why did the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District decide to go solar? IMG_2638-1

 

A Board member brought the idea to us, as he had just installed solar on his roof at home. We had already budgeted money in 2018 to replace our roof, and a rooftop solar project fit in perfectly with a roof replacement. So we started investigating what it would cost to go solar, with the help of Active Energies. Active Energies was immensely helpful in looking at different sizes of PV system that would best fit our needs. They ran several iterations of design before we settled on a final PV array size.  

 

One of the biggest reasons we decided to move forward with solar was the immediate cost benefit of generating our own power. The Fire Protection District needs lights on 24/7 for safety and functionality of our system so the dollar savings were immediate. We received rebates from both Holy Cross Energy and EnergySmart at Walking Mountains which were an added benefit to help offset the cost of the system. Not only did the economics make sense for us with a 9 year payback, but there are also clear environmental benefits to rooftop solar.

 

Have you seen any immediate benefits from the project?

 

Not yet! We turned the system on last Thursday, so we have yet to get our first utility bill. It took a little longer than expected to turn on the system because we have a back-up generator on site. We needed to ensure that the solar and the generator were all wired correctly so we did not end up with a safety issue on our hands. That was the biggest hiccup in the project, the rest ran very smoothly, thanks to the help from Active Energies. They even helped us get through the permitting process with the Town of Eagle.

 

IMG_2639Has the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District done any other work related to sustainability and energy efficiency?

 

Yes, we are working to evaluate all the lighting systems and to move a majority over of them over to a LED System. It turns out that the structural gear we use was being worn out and damaged from the UV rays coming off of the fluorescent lights in the building. We noticed that the gear was more damaged from the UV rays in the fluorescent lights than it was if we had left the gear outside. So we’ve decided to upgrade to LEDs rather than needing to invest in replacing gear every few years. We anticipate the LEDs to bring about even greater energy savings than we will see from the solar array!

Topics: Energy Smart, Climate Action Collaborative

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