06/15/2011 03:41 pm ET Updated Aug 15, 2011

Rifle's Community Owned Solar Array Largest In Nation At 3,575 Panels

A cooperative effort between Holy Cross Energy, the Clean Energy Collective, and Garfield County produced the nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, on Tuesday.

The array sports 3,575 solar panels and is expected to produce in excess of 1,500 megawatt-hours each year for Holy Cross Energy customers that buy into the co-op.

Holy Cross customers can buy in for $3.15/watt or $725 per 230-watt panel. The fee covers all maintenance and operations costs for 50 years. Customers can later sell, transfer, or donate their panels at a fair market value.

Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, a green-energy activist, told The Glenwood Springs Post Independent, "Our ability to move to a clean energy economy in Colorado is a product of the political will that the people of the state have, to really try and find clean energy solutions... This is a way for people to have affordable power and to be able to participate and feel good about how they're generating their energy."

The Clean Energy Collective also sources energy from micro-hydro, geothermal, wind, and biomass.