The 21st annual Crestone Energy Fair was decently attended, if not crowded. The town is, after all, surrounded by high desert and mountain wilderness where you can measure poulation density in square kilometers per person. The Solar Gardens Institute booth signed up potential subscribers to a planned 25 kilowatt solar garden.
These solar micro-gardens, with just upwards of 100 panels, can be implemented on any rural electric co-op under Tri-state that is willing to implement virtual net metering. The Solar Panel Hosting Company intends to offer a very simple way to get ownership and production data to the utility's billing system for automated credits.
Ceal Smith of the San Luis Valley Renewable Communities Alliance spoke on distributed energy in the San Luis Valley, and how the valley could become a self-sufficient microgrid exporting a modest amount of electricity. Organizer Vince Palermo then gave an excellent presentation about the solar garden - as clear and concise as I've yet heard.
At a panel sponsored by Transition Crestone, Wayne Snider spoke about the community solar system recently built in the town of Fowler. Chris Canaly of the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council discussed a proposed solar master plan for the valley. I had a chance to talk about solar gardens sprouting up everywhere - at least six we are developing in Colorado with the help of Renewable Energy Development Team at the Governor's Energy Office.
Paul Shippee of the Crestone Solar School discussed nonviolent communication. Lee Temple shifted the focus, bringing feelings to the surface, discussing our purpose as Earth healers, and how Crestone has created local food systems at farms and ranches that will now serve as host sites for community power. Robin Blankenship, a representative of the local primitive skills group, spoke about simplifying and reducing one's consumption.
The session finished with a free sharing of the microphone, covering all kinds of topics including where to locate a community greenhouse.
Thanks to all who attended!