Farm Beet

By Hal Walter

In their purest sense, farms are big solar collectors, gathering sunlight and converting this energy into food.

Now one Colorado Springs farm is harnessing solar power to produce another crop — electricity.

In the past year a community solar garden has taken root at Venetucci Farm, possibly the nation’s largest urban farm. The 190-acre operation set aside more than 2 acres to the project, which allows energy consumers to participate in the solar program through Colorado Springs Utilities.

According to David Amster-Olszewski, president of Sunshare, the solar garden at Venetucci comprises 2,500 panels, supplying 300 individual households and six schools with solar power. The garden is on track to produce more than 1 million kilowatt hours in 2012.

The program allows utility customers to power their homes with solar without having to purchase and install expensive equipment at their homes. Consumers can merely lease the panels from…

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