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Manitou Springs will use solar garden to power city buildings

Manitou Springs will use solar garden to power city building

MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Manitou Springs will be the first city in the country to have all its city buildings powered by a solar garden.

Now every resident and business in Manitou Springs will have the chance to join in on the idea.

"I think it's great Manitou is taking the lead on this. I love being a part of a community that does that," said city administrator Jack Benson.

Manitou Springs will be a community where the fire station, city hall, public works buildings and even the community pool are all powered from what's called - a "solar garden".

"One of our visions is to be a leader in this area. In terms of making sure we're a sustainable community and that we're using alternative energy," said Benson.

Now the city is a step closer to that vision. Taking the lead as the first in the nation to have city facilities powered by a solar garden.

At one solar garden in El Paso County there are about 2,000 solar panels. The new garden that's being built to help power Manitou Springs will have 8,000 panels.

"Once they get it built as soon as they start generating electricity is when we will go off the regular grid and going on to the solar garden. What it does is it fixes our energy cost for the next 20 years.  that will be a savings over time," said Benson.

But Manitou's real focus is reducing its carbon footprint.

This 20-year agreement will cut its carbon emissions 30 percent by 2020 - six years earlier than the cities original goal.

"I like the idea that we're moving forward with this alternative energy. The thing is this environmental stuff is important. We need to start thinking of it for our kids and grand kids. We need to leave the plant better than it was," said Benson.

The new solar project is located in Security. Construction is expected to break ground late in the summer and will last about two months.

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