For the first time ever, Ravalli Electric Co-Op is offering solar power to their customers. Communications Specialist Alyssa Barnes said solar power is becoming pretty common among many co-ops across the country.

"We are planning a community solar project here in the Bitteroot Valley. It's the second one in the state," Barnes said. "It's a simple way for people who are interested in supporting alternative green energy to get involved with solar without having to put solar panels on their own home."

Barnes said the co-op will be putting in 88 panels in the Bitterroot wherein customers can then purchase one of those panels for $750. She added that whatever their portion that the solar rays generate over the course of a year will receive credit on their bill.

"We anticipate that it will be about 350 kilowatt hours per year, which is a small portion of most people's overall energy usage. It's about enough to power an EnergyStar refrigerator for a year," Barnes said. "It equates to about a $25 credit at our current rates."

Ravalli Electric Co-Op currently serves about 9,000 customers, according to Barnes. To learn more about solar power, or if you’re interested in purchasing a panel, call the co-op at 406-961-3001.