San Miguel County: Energy Performance Program Underway!

San Miguel County: Energy Performance Program Underway!

San Miguel County announces that energy performance and solar installation projects are to be completed by December 2021.

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In collaboration with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), San Miguel County has launched an energy performance and solar installation project that will benefit the environment while saving money and maximizing efficiencies.

The innovative project was developed by the County with the goals of becoming carbon neutral, improving efficiencies in County facilities, decreasing utility costs, providing resiliency in critical County operations, ensuring employee safety and comfort, and becoming an industry leader.

“We set very progressive goals and initiatives to approach this program holistically,” said County Manager Mike Bordogna. “Becoming carbon neutral will give us long term stability and ensure quality of life as the impacts of climate change are becoming more apparent, and the efficiencies that the program brings will allow us to reallocate funds to other areas in need.”

Through grants from DOLA’s Renewable and Clean Energy Initiative, San Miguel County was able to secure funding for the installation of solar on County facilities and released an RFP for an energy service company in February 2019. Siemens Industry, Inc. was selected to conduct a commercial grade energy audit of the existing San Miguel Clean Energy Project (SMCEP) in March, and kickoff the program in May of 2020.  The County received 50% matching grants for the solar project, and are financing the energy performance program with the savings generated from the reduction of power.

Facility improvements in County buildings that will reduce energy usage include new LED lights, windows, HVAC controls and building envelope performance enhancements. Siemens also identified propane and natural gas appliances that could be transitioned to electric appliances that run on solar energy, known as “beneficial electrification.”

A designated SolSmart Gold Community, San Miguel County will install 264 kW of on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at key county facilities, including the non-historic portion of the County Courthouse, which is part of a National Historic Landmark District. Solar will also be added to the Sheriff’s Office in Ilium, a new Sheriff’s Office annex and Glockson buildings in Norwood, and Road and Bridge facility at Deep Creek. Additionally, battery systems totaling 190 kW and 580 kWh of storage capacity will provide backup and resiliency to critical operations.

The on-site solar PV and energy efficiency improvements will provide:

50% of electricity used by county-owned facilities
Full electrification of three county facilities
A carrier-neutral broadband location for Norwood to serve the community and provide redundancy and resiliency
A reduction of 7,704 tons of carbon dioxide
$2.371 million in cash savings to the county general fund over the project lifetime of the improvements

The projects are slated for completion by December of 2021, with utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions savings of 20-25%.

“We are excited to lead this effort and look forward to being a resource for other communities,” added Bordogna. “This project would not be possible without the support of the State and our local partners.”

Community partners include San Miguel Power Association who provided rebates that totaled $25,000 in savings, the Sheriff’s Office, Telluride Foundation and EcoAction Partners.

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