Community leaders in Central City expressed interest in making their community a trailblazer in clean energy by organizing a community solar garden. The project was kick-started by Mesner Development Company and their donation of a neutral site on which other Central City businesses could construct solar panels to offset their energy usage.
Through Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), three businesses in Central City received renewable energy grants of $18,750 each, which reimbursed25% of the construction costs for three 25kW solar arrays. A total of $56,250 in Rural Development dollars was leveraged with $168,750 from the three recipient businesses. The 75kW solar project in northern Central City is now complete and it is the first of its kind to be completed in the United States of America using REAP funding, making the dream of Central City's leadership to be at the forefront of this technology a reality.Through net metering arrangements, the businesses are able to offset their energy usage and decrease their monthly bills. The expected dollar value of the energy generated per year is $12,960 for the three businesses, making those funds available for their day-to-day operations. The entire solar garden is expected to produce 292,000 kilowatt-hours annually, enough energy to power more than 24 homes. This project will replace fossil fuel consumption, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, leading to improved air quality and a healthier environment.