PAHRUMP, Nev. – Valley Electric Association Inc. (VEA), a member-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Pahrump, recently received a $5,000 grant from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy to support the cooperative’s rapidly growing domestic solar water heating program. Since introducing the program in 2009, VEA has grown to become a nationally recognized leader in the promotion, installation and financing of solar water heaters for its members.
The funding will allow VEA to offset the additional costs associated with converting systems from propane to solar for a number of homeowners within the cooperative’s service area. The propane-to-solar conversion process often costs between $400 and $700 more than converting an electric system to solar, representing a significant investment for many families. The $5,000 grant will allow VEA to fund conversions for 10 to 12 homes in the cooperative’s service area.
VEA’s solar water heating program provides members of the southwestern Nevada cooperative with improved access to energy-saving solar water heating systems by offering on-bill financing with no interest charges and no down payments. VEA has installed nearly 800 solar water heating systems in the area since 2009, reducing carbon emissions and saving participants as much as $500 each year in energy costs. In addition, the program helps reduce peak energy costs for the cooperative, which serves to hold down costs for its members.
“VEA offers its solar water heating systems at significantly discounted prices to help our members control their energy costs,” said Tom Husted, CEO of VEA. “This valuable grant will provide more families with opportunities to reduce their power bills by switching to high-quality solar water heating systems.”
This is the second consecutive year VEA’s solar water heating program has received a $5,000 grant from the Governor’s Energy Office specifically for these conversions.
Pete Konesky, energy program manager for the Energy Office, said the state grants came as a result of VEA’s commitment to providing its members with innovative programs designed to reduce energy consumption.
“VEA has been extremely responsive to the energy needs of its members,” Konesky said. “This grant is just a way of supporting VEA’s forward-thinking activities.”
In 2012, VEA received the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s National Community Service Award for Energy Efficiency as a result of the cooperative’s work in developing and expanding its solar water heating program.
“VEA created this program to remove the many financial barriers typically associated with installing solar water heating systems,” Husted said. “As we continue to provide our members with improved access to this valuable technology, we hope to see other utilities across the nation adopt similar programs to reduce energy usage.”
For more information about VEA’s solar water heating program, visit www.vea.coop.
About Valley Electric Association
Valley Electric Association Inc. (VEA) is a member-owned nonprofit electric utility headquartered in Pahrump, Nev. While VEA started as a small rural electric utility in 1965, the company now provides service to more than 45,000 people within a vast 6,800-square-mile service area located primarily along the California-Nevada border, with the majority in Nevada. VEA’s service area starts in Sandy Valley, southwest of Las Vegas, and extends north for more than 250 miles to Fish Lake Valley. For more information about VEA, please visit www.vea.coop.