Stimulus Enables Eldorado to Install Solar Power System
With the help of local project partners, NexGen Energy Partners and Namasté Solar, and the financing available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the solar electric system planned for Eldorado Natural Spring Water has become a reality.
The company's plans to install the solar electric system had previously been stalled for more than two years. Turmoil in the economy and capital markets caused project financing to fall through. Many months later, the stimulus bill was enacted with critically important provisions that allowed the project to move forward again.
"After waiting such a long time, we are excited that the installation of our new solar system. It will be one of the largest in the state and we'll be able to obtain approximately 50 percent of our energy needs from this system," said Jeremy Martin, vice president of Marketing at Eldorado Natural Spring Water.
NexGen Energy Partners, a Colorado-based owner and operator of renewable energy systems nationwide, developed and financed the project with the help of multiple provisions in ARRA. One provision provided grant incentives from the U.S. Treasury Department. The grant was previously in the form of an investment tax credit that provided little benefit in the constrained economy. As a result, hundreds of commercial solar projects throughout the country were either canceled or put on hold. The ARRA directly addressed this problem by changing the tax credit to a cash grant.
John M. Brown, president of NexGen, said, "There's no doubt that the ARRA made it possible for us to move forward with this project. The ARRA contained key changes to the Investment Tax Credits that allow organizations like Eldorado to partner with companies like NexGen to receive the benefits of renewable energy with no upfront capital investment and without taking on any technical challenges."
NexGen will own and operate the system, selling the electricity it generates to Eldorado Natural Spring Water at a pre-determined price over a 20-year term. The water company will get approximately half of its annual energy needs from clean solar electricity at a pre-determined price, thereby mitigating its risk to rising power prices.
Namasté Solar is designing and installing the system, which should be complete this month. "We are happy to finally have the opportunity to install this solar project," said Namasté Solar President and Chief Executive Officer Blake Jones. "The ARRA allowed us to maintain many jobs and even start hiring more people in anticipation of projects just like this one."