New ReEnergize program aids economic recovery through clean energy

These past few months during the pandemic, it’s been inspiring to see individuals and organizations stepping up to help. We’re all doing what we can with what we have, where we are.

In that spirit, Garfield Clean Energy is launching ReEnergize, a new program designed to help struggling households and businesses – and to boost the local economy – through efficiency and clean energy.

As a short-term stimulus, ReEnergize will make extra funding available to reduce the costs of home energy assessments and business efficiency upgrades. Before the end of the year we hope to announce a rooftop-solar component to the program, too.

“GCE has been a state leader in utilizing clean energy programs as an economic development strategy,” explained Erica Sparhawk, deputy director of CLEER, the nonprofit that manages GCE’s programs. “This is what we exist to do, and this is the piece we can contribute to the recovery.”

Sparhawk noted that GCE was started in the wake of the last big economic downturn, in 2009, when local governments embraced clean energy as a part of the county’s recovery strategy. Since then, GCE has leveraged about $4 million of public funding into more than $40 million of investment in the county. That investment, in turn, is putting an estimated $1.4 million back into the pockets of Garfield County households, businesses and governments each year.

Through ReEnergize, GCE will offer two new rebates to make energy efficiency measures more affordable.

The first is a $150 rebate on home energy assessments for Xcel residential all-electric and gas-plus-electric customers. These households, which are located mainly in western Garfield County, aren’t currently eligible for discounts available in the rest of the county.

A home energy assessment is the best way to identify the energy efficiency upgrades that will bring the most savings to households. And with this rebate addition, home energy assessments are more affordable for residents no matter which community they live in. 

The second incentive is aimed at restaurants, retailers and lodges, offering up to $1,500 toward efficiency projects. Even in normal times, upgrading to more efficient equipment such as lighting, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration will improve a business’s bottom line; in the midst of a pandemic, lowering operational costs such as energy can be a key to survival.

At its July meeting, the GCE board allocated $33,000 in seed funding to enable us to start issuing rebates as soon as possible. For details on how to apply for rebates, see the ReEnergize page.

“We’re excited to be offering rebates again, while building on our existing services that help local small businesses and families to save money on their future utility bills,” Sparhawk said. “There’s potential to grow the program even further, so we’re actively reaching out to partners to do that.”

She stressed that the program will leverage existing rebates from Xcel Energy, Holy Cross Energy, Black Hills Energy and CORE (the Community Office of Resource Efficiency).

The list of rebates available in Garfield County is long not all that easy to navigate. Feel free to contact our energy coaches and they’ll help you access the rebates you’re eligible for.

“GCE has been a state leader in utilizing clean energy programs as an economic development strategy. This is what we exist to do, and this is the piece we can contribute to the recovery.”