In an effort to reduce its electricity costs, Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club has become the first solar-powered golf course in the state.

Flexera, a Harbeson-based renewable energy company, was responsible for the installation of four solar panels on the golf cart barn, the swimming pool, maintenance building and irrigation systems.

According to Cripple Creek Treasurer Tom Hunsberger, the project has been about 18 months in the making, with the last panel installed in February.

In February and March, the club reduced its energy costs by 40 percent.

So far, the community response has been great, he said.

“In general, we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” Hunsberger said, and there is a benefit to the club’s members as well. “Whenever we can cut costs, we don’t have to raise dues as much.”

The gross cost of the project was about $300,000, but with the aid of federal and state grants, Hunsberger said the total cost to Cripple Creek was $116,000.

“Without the federal and state grants, you’d never do it for economic reasons,” he said.

While the solar project will reduce electricity costs, it will also be making the club money, too. Cripple Creek is earning Solar Renewal Energy Credits through Delmarva Power that then use some of the green energy produced by the panels.

“Basically, the power companies have to pay a fine if they don’t produce enough green energy,” Hunsberger said. “The great thing about this is, in effect, us selling the SRECs to them is paying for the panels.”

source: delmarvanow