Routt, Moffat residents have until July 1 to join Yampa Valley Solar Co-op

File photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa Valley’s newly formed solar cooperative is seeking more members in Routt and Moffat counties.

The Yampa Valley Solar Co-op, which is affiliated with the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, has selected a contractor as it moves into the final stages of getting more solar power on the grid in Northwest Colorado. July 1 is the deadline to join the co-op.

So far, Solar United Neighbors Colorado Program Director Bryce Carter said 56 members have joined the co-op, including the town of Hayden and the Craig Chamber of Commerce. The co-op is free to join, and members aren’t committed to pay for solar installs until they have a price estimate and a contract.

Steamboat Spring’s Sunwise Solar was selected to install solar by co-op members in a competitive bid process. Carter said Sunwise will now begin reaching out to members to schedule site visits and receive an estimate based on the established base price.

“Then they’ll be able to decide if moving forward with solar is right for them,” he said. “There’s no obligation for them to follow through up until they have that contract in front of them, and they can decide from there.”

Carter said he couldn’t provide that base price, as it’s proprietary information, but other Solar United Communities co-ops save “20% to 30% below market rate.” According to the Yampa Valley Solar Cooperative’s website, the average cost of installing solar after federal tax credits is $9,700 for panels that generate four kilowatts and $19,300 for those that produce eight kilowatts.

“You and your neighbors are able to go in together and utilize those economies of scale and have those bulk savings,” Carter said. “At the same time, we (Solar United Neighbors) operate to help streamline the process and make sure everyone is educated and informed about what solar is, what the pricing is and help walk through that process so folks don’t have to get bogged down by all the intricacies of it. We just want to make sure that everyone is as well informed to make the best decision that works for them.”

In this vein, Solar United Neighbors will host several informational sessions in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek, Hayden and Craig.

With support from an anonymous donor, Solar United Communities also sponsored four Routt and Moffat county residents to attend one in-person training session and one webinar to earn basic certification to install solar systems. Carter said they are still working on the details, but these four people will be able to learn alongside Sunwise in some way as the company installs solar systems for co-op members.

“We’re moving forward, and the installer will probably start installing soon,” Carter said. “We’re really excited to be at this stage of the project.”

To learn more or join the co-op, visit or attend one of the following info sessions and socials:

Oak Creek
6 p.m. Solar Information Session and 7 p.m. Solar Social
Tuesday, June 4, at Rachel’s Smoking BBQ & Café, 112 West Main St.

6 p.m. Solar Information Session and 7 p.m. Solar Social
Wednesday, June 5, at Wild Goose Coffee at the Granary, 198 East Lincoln Ave.

6 p.m. Solar Information Session and 7 p.m. Solar Social
Thursday, June 6, at the Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.

Steamboat Springs
7:30 a.m. Solar Information Session and Breakfast
Friday, June 7, at Old Town Hot Springs, 136 South Lincoln Ave.

5 to 8 p.m. First Friday Open House
Friday, June 7, at the Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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