What can bring an entire community together on a dark winter night in sub-zero degree temperatures? A favorite local brewery and the power of solar energy!

Last week, the Solarize Gunnison County Team kicked off their Solarize program with a launch event for the community at High Alpine Brewing Co. in Gunnison, Colorado. The event, hosted by Solar Forward partners and Solarize Program Coordinators Hunter Edberg and Ellen Ross, was packed with interested solar customers. The Team, along with selected partner solar installers, Nunatek Alternative Energy Solutions, gave a presentation to attendees on how to register and participate in the program.

Solarize banner art provided by Solar Forward


The Solarize Gunnison County program aims to kickstart a solar market in the community by offering a streamlined process to go solar, and by educating community members on the benefits of residential solar during a 13-week outreach period. The Solarize Gunnison program coordinators have partnered with local solar installers, Nunatek, who are offering an exclusive discount on solar systems for people who register to Solarize during the outreach period.

Other benefits of the program to community participants include a no-cost, no-commitment site assessment on their property, as well as access to resources on financing solar systems. However, positive implications of kickstarting a solar market will persist beyond this 13-week period, as similar initiatives have shown that a solar market creates jobs and economic resiliency in communities.

The program was featured in Crested Butte News.

“Imagine a world that ran on clean, renewable energy. What would it look like, and what does it take to get there? Ellen Ross and Hunter Edberg, candidates in the Master in Environmental Management Program at Western Colorado University, seek to answer these questions in their 13-week outreach campaign called Solarize Gunnison County.”

Check out the full article here.

The Solarize Gunnison County program was made possible through technical consulting from Solar Energy International’s Solar Forward program. The program, which launched in 2017, aims to use increasingly more affordable solar technology to strengthen the economies, resilience, and independence of Colorado communities in rural areas. Through the program, community groups or non-profits can apply to receive SEI technical advising on solar-related initiatives for a full year, in addition to a ‘toolkit’ compiled by industry experts tailored to community’s needs. These initiatives include ‘Solarize’ outreach programs, and SEI’s Solar in Schools, high school technical career pathway program.

More information on the program launch can be found on the Solar Forward webpage, and featured in ‘SEI launches solar advising program for rural Colorado communities’ in Solar Power World.

The technical ‘toolkit’ for a Solarize program includes everything from a personalized logo to outreach and marketing material templates, press release templates, event planning and lead management guides, informational presentations for the community and more. Technical consulting also includes a basic webpage setup for the Solarize program.

Solar Forward is accepting community applications on a rolling basis, and the application is available on the Solar Forward webpage.

Solarize Gunnison County saw nearly 40 program registrations following their launch event.


Check out Solarize Gunnison County’s website and facebook page to learn more. Also mentioned in this article, High Alpine Brewing Co. in Gunnison, Colorado and Nunatek Alternative Energy Solutions in Gunnison County, Colorado.

For more information on SEI’s Solar Forward Program contact Program Manager Mary Marshall at [email protected] or call 970-527-7657 x116.