OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE – April 17, 2008 (Aspen, Colo.) – Aspen Skiing Company and Colorado Rocky Mountain School announce that construction for the Colorado Rocky Mountain School Solar Array is now underway. The 150kW system will be installed on one half acre of ranchland owned by the high school and will be the largest solar electric installation in western Colorado at the time it is completed. It will power the school's science building with excess energy fed into the town of Carbondale's power grid. Annually, it will produce 200,000 kWh (enough power for 20 average American homes) and keep 400,000 lbs of carbon dioxide out of the air each year.
"This is what sustainability looks like today," said Aspen Skiing Company President and CEO, Mike Kaplan. "This is not just about renewable power; it's about community. This project is a unique collaboration among a corporation, a high school, a town, a nonprofit and a utility. Take away any of these and the project fails."
The partners in the project are: the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, which owns the land and will buy some of the power; the Aspen Skiing Company, which is financing the project; the town of Carbondale and the nonprofit Community Office for Resource Efficiency, which did all the upfront conceptual work and planning for the project; and Xcel, the utility through which the solar power will run.
"This system will be a bellwether for the sustainable ideals that have been integral to Colorado Rocky Mountain School since our founding in 1953," says Michael Kennedy, president of the CRMS Board of Trustees. "It gives our 160 boarding and day students firsthand exposure to the importance of renewable energy, and allows us to practice what we preach."
The solar array will be completed early this summer and reinforce Carbondale's position as a solar energy hotspot nationwide. While the CRMS solar array is the flagship project, Carbondale's newly completed downtown recreation center is powered by a 50kW system. Additionally, the former Carbondale Elementary School is being retrofitted into a green, affordable nonprofit center. Carbondale is also the home of Solar Energy International (SEI) and Inpower Systems, a solar design and installation firm.
Aspen Skiing Company is considered a leader in sustainable business practices. Details on their programs are available www.Aspensnowmass.com/environment.