Telluride Foundation logo


Two programs that provide for more comfortable homes, lower utility bills and access to renewable energy

Telluride Foundation logoAn idea and some encouragement by the Telluride Foundation to support and engage market solutions to improve energy efficiency and energy conservation resulted in the creation of the San Miguel Power Partners (SMPP) Energy Efficiency Program. Since February 2012, SMPP has served 136 San Miguel Power Association customers and three commercial businesses and produced $50,000 in energy retrofit investment and $40,000 in energy rebates.

SMPP is a turn-key energy efficiency program that walks residential and business customers through the entire process of making improvements to their home or business. The local electric cooperative, San Miguel Power Association, and Source Gas teamed with iCAST (, a Colorado-based nonprofit, to develope the unique initiative to allow customers to benefit from energy audits, building retrofits to improve efficiency, project financing , project management, and final inspection and management.

“The underpinning notion is simple.” explains iCAST President Ravi Malhotra, “We design our energy efficiency improvements so the loans needed to implement them are paid for from the savings achieved on the utility bills – so there’s no monthly ‘out of pocket’ expense. After the loans are repaid all the savings go to the recipient.  And because utility bills aren’t coming down anytime soon, recipients continue to save even more over the 20-year lifetime of the improvements.”

iCAST’s approach to energy efficiency is an end-to-end, turn-key solution, and the company remains involved from the first steps, community outreach, to managing the energy audits, arranging project financing, project management (including recruitment and training of local contractor), and final inspections and reporting.

“The goal is to keep it hassle-free, simple and comprehensive for the customer,” says Malhotra, “All it takes is an expression of interest and the process is set in motion.”

SMPA and Source Gas play a crucial partnership role  by providing rebates for the energy audits and energy conservation measures. They also strengthen on-going outreach efforts by providing access to their corporate marketing and outreach resources, including bill inserts and advertising campaigns.

Leveraging the success of San Miguel Power Partners, the Telluride Foundation initiated an effort to join SMPP’s energy efficiency program with the new Community Solar Array in the Paradox Valley, developed by Clean Energy Collective (CEC). CEC will donate $250, the cost of one energy audit, to SMPP when the Telluride Foundation, iCAST or SMPA help with referrals to sell solar panels in the Community Solar Array, a cooperative solar facility serving all or parts of Ouray, San Juan, San Miguel, Mesa, Hinsdale and Dolores counties.

SMPA customers can purchase solar panels in the community array and get solar credit for the power directly on their utility bill as if the system were built on their home business. In addition to cheaper, cleaner power, those who support the SMPP energy efficiency program will also help area residents improve their energy efficiency and lower their costs.

The idea for the program came when Telluride Foundation president Paul Major thought about how two distinct environmental markets-energy efficiency/retrofit services and SMPA’s community solar garden program-could work toward a common goal.

 “This is a win-win for residents of the region,” said Major. “Combining this new renewable energy solar array program with the energy efficiency retrofit program make additional resources available and accessible to more individuals and families. We are excited to help with these types of driven solutions.”

The new program is off to a bright start. According to CEC chief operating officer Thomas Sweeney, customers must purchase a minimum of 16 solar panels, which is still well below the average system size.

 “We have had a number of Foundation donors approach us to voice their support for the program and to signal their interest in providing energy efficiency audits for other members of the community,” Sweeney added.

Those interested in learning more can contact Kristin Kuhlman at (970)708-0985 or

For more information on the SMPP’s energy efficiency program, visit, email or call 1-866-590-4377.

About iCAST:

iCAST (International Center for Appropriate & Sustainable Technology) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that focuses on empowering people through social, environmental, and economical means. They help communities use local resources for their benefit through projects that build capacity through sustainable methods, helping to bring energy improvements that lower energy costs and increase comfort levels. iCAST promotes economic viability, environmental stewardship and social responsibility in under-served communities.

For more information visit or

About the Telluride Foundation:

The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, The Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants that serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.