Students spend spring break installing solar panels

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Some kids from Wisconsin are helping out with the low income family solar power project.

Because of the solar farm on 29 Road, 35 homes will receive renewable energy. Many across the state will benefit.

“We're installing a 36 kW community solar array here," said Chuck Watkins, with GRID Alternatives Colorado.

A community solar array will help those who wouldn't otherwise get renewable energy.

“We know that renewable energy is something that's important, we know that some of these low income folks don’t have the opportunity to access this kind of clean, renewable energy,” said Tom Walch, spokesperson for Grand Valley Power.

It's a group effort, done during students' spring break. Students from Beloit College in Wisconsin teamed up with Grand Valley Power and GRID Alternatives.

“GRID alternatives is the largest non-profit, solar installer and developer in the country," said Watkins.

“All of the GRID workers dug these 4.5 foot deep holes, so right now we're laying railings,” said Beloit student, Jane Hanebuth.

" The we can attach the vertical poles to them later, and tomorrow we can fill the holes with concrete so that they stay steady," said Beloit student, Katie Grams.

Hanebuth said after all that solar modules go on top.

GVP launched the initiative about three years ago to create more solar panels on the Western Slope.

“The footprint we have here will be at capacity,” said Walch. “If we do this again we'll have to build another solar farm somewhere in our territory."

It’s a small effort that goes a very long way.

“If you can only get it to one class of people because they are the ones that can afford it, it's not getting out there to everyone,” said Grams.

The project is set to finish by summer and save households about $600.

The project costs more than $70,000, but with the help of a large grant from the Colorado Energy Office, GVP and GRID can continue doing projects around the state and country.

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