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COMMUNITY VIEWPOINT: VEA’s commitment to renewable energy

As a steadfast supporter of green initiatives, Valley Electric Association, Inc. (VEA) has played a critical role in making renewable energy technology more accessible and affordable for members of our communities.

In recent years, VEA has developed and implemented one of our nation’s largest and most successful domestic solar water heating programs. This valuable program serves as a reflection of our cooperative’s ongoing commitment to renewable energy.

We launched VEA’s Domestic Solar Water Heating Program in 2009 to provide community members with improved access to solar water heating systems for their homes. VEA members requested a straightforward and affordable solution, which is why the program offers on-bill financing with zero percent interest and no down payments. We recognized that the high up-front cost typically associated with this technology often makes it difficult for families to afford solar water heating systems.

Since the program’s inception, we have installed more than 825 solar water heaters in our communities, resulting in approximately 3.7 megawatts of displaced energy demand. Each single-panel unit averts 3,082 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, reducing the carbon footprint of VEA members.

Perhaps most importantly, the program helps participants reduce their monthly utility bills. Each solar water heating unit offers savings of up to approximately $500 per year, essentially offsetting members’ monthly payments for the systems in most cases.

I would like to thank all of the VEA members who have contributed to the success of our Domestic Solar Water Heating Program. As a community-focused organization, we take tremendous pride in offering unique, environmentally responsible programs that directly address the needs of our member-owners.

The Domestic Solar Water Heating Program will serve as the foundation for VEA’s future renewable energy programs. We are currently considering the implementation of a new photovoltaic energy program, and we expect to release more information about this exciting endeavor in the near future.

Tom Husted has served as the CEO of VEA since 2006. He has more than 30 years of experience in the utility industry across the Western United States, including more than 20 years as a CEO. Each monthly edition of VEA’s Ruralite magazine features a column from Husted, offering his thoughts about issues affecting the cooperative and the communities it serves. These monthly columns are reprinted in the Pahrump Valley Times.