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Posted on: September 16, 2020

City of Cortez Continues Developing Sustainable Energy Sources

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Over the last decade, the City of Cortez has taken steps to move to more renewable energy to cut costs and become energy independent.  Some of those steps include solar power being installed at City Hall, the Kennel, the Golf Course and now the Cortez Municipal Airport will begin its transition to solar energy as well.   The City also installed an electric car charger at the Colorado Welcome Center on Main St.

Leading the way was a micro-hydro plant which went into full production in May of 2010.  Production years 2011 through 2019 average KWH (kilowatt hours) were 749,276

2020 produced KWH thru July is 463,918

The 2017 City hall budget had $40,000 for electricity that is now net metered and the system saves the City $40,000 per year minus the lease amount of the solar. Which currently we are in year 3 of a 6 yr lease. After the lease the City owns the system and will realize the full net metering. The system at city hall has produced 251.9 MWH since it was installed. CO2 emissions saved 390,054 lbs and were equal to 2,947 trees planted.  City Hall is also LEED certified and all of the lights in City Hall have been LED for a few years now.

The airport solar project will have the following financial impacts.  Additional annual electric costs of approximately $6,605 in year one, decreasing by an estimated 2.5% annually through year 5, using the estimated costs in Exhibit B.  From year 6 onward, the savings would increase annually, dependent on the rate of inflation. 

 Using a 7 year average cost savings of $7,859 from Exhibit B for years 6 through 12, the $54,848 solar system cost would have a payback of approximately 7 years.  From that point forward, the Airport electric bill should be close to half of the pre-solar cost.

With questions please contact Rick Smith at

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