By SunShare
Published: Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 – 9:03 am

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 28, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — Governor John Hickenlooper will be in Colorado Springs Tuesday, November 29, for the official Groundbreaking of Colorado Springs’ first Community Solar Garden. The event will take place at Venetucci Farm, located at 5210 S. U.S. Highway 85 at 10:30 a.m. Use Venetucci website or call for directions.

At 10:15 a.m., the Governor and other state and local elected officials will be placing the first solar panels on racking- Media welcome to join.

Local dignitaries will be on hand for the groundbreaking, including Mayor Steve Bach, City Council President, Scott Hente, President Pro Tem Jan Martin, Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, State Representative Pete Lee, Pikes Peak Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Hannigan, and SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski. SunShare is the start-up company that has contracted with Colorado Springs Utilities and Pikes Peak Community Foundation, who owns Venetucci Farm, to develop the Colorado Springs Community Solar Garden, the first public-private partnership of its kind in the nation.

The 575kW groundmounted solar array at the Venetucci Farm was designed, engineered and installed by RGS Energy, the commercial division of Real Goods Solar. The 2,500 solar panels that make up the system are available for lease to all customers of Colorado Springs Utilities. “The community solar garden allows citizens to participate in solar, without the average $25,000 upfront cost of a set of panels on their own roof,” SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski said. “Leasing two panels can reduce the average electric bill by ten percent.”

Colorado Springs Utilities will provide a monetary incentive, up to 30 percent of the panel cost, for customers that subscribe to the community solar garden. Utilities’ 2011 budget for incentives is limited, available on a first-come first served basis, and expires in early December.

SunShare is headquartered in Colorado Springs. The company plans to build community solar gardens in several cities along the Front Range. Amster-Olszewski is a Colorado College graduate and recently moved back to Colorado Springs to start SunShare.

The Colorado Springs Community Solar Garden Groundbreaking Event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. RSVPs can be sent to [email protected]

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