Lower-income YVEA members can apply for solar power bill offset

Program has saved participants $82,000 since 2017

Community volunteers and Yampa Valley Electric Association staff members helped to build the solar array on the YVEA campus in 2016.
Yampa Valley Electric Association/Courtesy photo

The existing community solar array located on the Yampa Valley Electric Association campus in Steamboat Springs currently is open for lower-income co-op members to apply to receive a solar-powered electric bill offset.

YVEA Public Relations Specialist Carly Davidson said the current round of applications should accommodate up to 40 co-op members who meet income qualifications. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. The solar array, originally developed by partners YVEA, the Colorado Energy Office and nonprofit GRID Alternatives, is dedicated to income-qualified YVEA members. The array has been renamed the Rays Up Community Solar Program and is 100% owned and operated by YVEA.

Past participating members have said the bill offset can amount to approximately $25 to $35 per month. Davidson said new program participants would receive the bill offset for two years, instead of the initially established time period of five years, to give more members the opportunity to take advantage of the program.

Davidson said that during the previous lease cycle, enrolled members saved a total approximately $82,000 during their time in the community solar garden program since original applications began in early 2017. The array came online and started generating power in November 2016.

Rays Up applications and more information are available online at or in person at YVEA offices during business hours at 2211 Elk River Rd. in Steamboat and at 3715 East U.S. Highway 40 in Craig, as well as at the nonprofit Community Budget Center in downtown Craig.

To qualify for the program, participants must pay their own electric bill to YVEA, and their total household income must be at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) of their county. In Routt County for a family of four, 80% AMI is $73,200, and in Moffat County $58,800, based on gross income before tax deductions. The previous year’s tax return is used as income verification, and the income is based on all adult household members age 18 and older.

YVEA members who are rolling off the program were informed by letters, Davidson said.

“We discussed with members who were rolling off the program several ways to help keep their utility bills low through local energy assistance programs, advice on reducing energy consumption with tips and tricks from our Energy Hero program, winterization suggestions and rebates through our Energy Hero program,” Davidson said.

For questions, contact YVEA member services at 970-879-1160. The Community Budget Center at 555 Yampa Ave. in Craig will review all applications.

Yampa Valley Electric Association employee Steve Vestal positions a solar panel on the community solar array in 2016.
John RussellSteamboat Pilot & Today archive


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