WEST JEFFERSON-Ashe County is going green.
Blue Ridge Electric revealed early indications last week of its intent to oversee two popular initiatives that are aimed at reducing the county’s carbon footprint.
A solar garden will be located on the Ashe County Job Development property beside AEV and the old Sara Lee Building in Jefferson, the energy coop confirmed this week.
Jason Lingle made the coop’s plans public during a presentation on energy efficiency at the West Jefferson office last week.
Renee Whitener, director of public relations of BRE, later confirmed the news via press release.
While renewable energy currently makes up six percent of Blue Ridge Electric’s power supply, that percentage is growing and community solar gardens will empower cooperative members to directly choose to invest in receiving a greater portion of their electricity from solar resources, according to a press release.
More details on how to participate will be announced soon as gardens are completed and members interested in participating can notify Blue Ridge by signing up at www.BlueRidgeEMC.com/solar.
Community solar gardens are an efficient way to provide greater access to renewable energy. Solar arrays are sited in optimal locations of sunlight for the best energy output and consumers, said the press release.
Solar gardens are ideal for those concerned about the upfront costs or maintenance of installing solar panels on their home’s roof. Additionally, community solar benefits all members by helping reducing overall power demand.
The effort is part of an initiative to construct and offer participation in community solar gardens this fall across the cooperative’s service area in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties. Each will be a 100 kW (kilowatt) array consisting of more than 350 ground mounted solar panels that will cumulatively power 50 average households.
Pricing options are currently being developed for subscribing to the energy rights of one or more solar panels. Lingle also hinted about the installation of recharging stations for electric cars in downtown West Jefferson and Sparta.
Details of these projects are currently unavailable as they are in the planning stage.