The day has arrived!

Hotchkiss, Colorado based solar installation company, Empowered Energy Systems, has begun construction on its first solar array install contracted through Solar Energy International’s program to boost the solar economy in Delta County: Solarize North Fork Valley.  This is great news as we round into the final month of the Solarize North Fork Valley enrollment period.  And the lucky signees are Sarah and Bill Bishop of Hotchkiss, who are receiving a 6.24kW system on their home on Stucker Mesa!

“The price is right.  We figure we will recoup our investment in less than 15 years, even though we will have to supplement our solar energy with a bit of power from DMEA,” commented Bishop.  The Solarize model strives to make solar as affordable as possible to the consumer, while still being fair to the installer.  With solar becoming more affordable it really does now have a reasonable pay-off period even in western Colorado where energy prices are relatively low.  This pay-off period can be anywhere from 12-20 years for the average home, and then, after that the photovoltaic (PV) array is pumping out free energy!

When asked, how the decision to install solar affects her life and the community she lives in, Bishop stated, “Think globally; act locally- an easy thing to do by installing solar energy.”  And, it is true.  The decision to put a solar array on a residence does have local and global effects.  Locally, Empowered Energy Systems, the solar installer receives more business, thus hiring four new employees, furthering the business’s capacity.  And globally, this is a step in the direction of a cleaner energy regime; the sun will rise every day prompting tiny excited electrons to power a home.

Bishop also stresses the collective effort.  Change is attainable when everyone contributes. Whether the decision to “go solar” is a financial one, an environmental one or a social one, the end result is that we are making the North Fork Valley a better place to live.

The Bishop’s 6.24kW system is the first installation of over 50kW of new solar that will be added to our communities through Solarize North Fork Valley.

“These contracts will keep us busy for at least a few months” stated Empowered Energy Systems company owner Brad Burritt.  “Fifty kilowatts of solar sold through the program reaches our first rebate tier, now let’s push on toward 100kW!  All the folks who participate before July 31st will now receive $0.05/watt off the installed price since we’ve reached this tier.  This equates to a few hundred dollar savings on the average home installation.”

Solarize North Fork Valley coordinators, Kristen O’Brien and Pete Mueller stress the importance of scale of economies.  “The more people that purchase solar for their home or business during the program make it cheaper for everyone!  With this solar “push” there is a larger volume of local installation business, which leverages product purchase power; ultimately, this comes as saving to the consumer.”

Solarize North Fork Valley will be accepting applications for a free remote site assessment, initial project sizing and cost estimate through July 31st.  To participate in the program contact the Solarize North Fork Valley coordinators Pete and Kristen at 970-527-7657 ext 213 or 214. Or, visit for more information and registration.