GJ Community Center net zero for energy with solar array

The Grand Junction Community Center met its goal of being a net zero energy building in its first year of operation.

Bob Ausberger told the county supervisors on Monday that the building has 7,972 kilowatt hours (kWh) “in the bank” with the Grand Junction electric plant as of Feb. 22. He shared data provided to him by Tom Wind, who collaborated with Ausberger on the project.

The Ausberger family donated $100,000 to make the building net zero, and Bob was the chief volunteer in installing a solar array connected to the energy grid. The electricity is not going directly to the Community Center, but the Grand Junction utility board credits the electricity generated against what is used there. The goal was to produce enough electricity so the city of Grand Junction incurs minimal utility expense for the Community Center.

According to Ausberger, he is still working through the process of accessing available tax credits, but if all available credits are obtained, the net cost of the project will be $20-$30,000. He estimated that the city of Grand Junction is saving about $6,000 in electric costs.

The best month for generating electricity via the solar array was August. Not surprisingly, the worst month was last March.

“The big payback is the good feeling for all of us, that there’d be a financial payback and we didn’t use Mother Nature for energy,” Ausberger said.

The Grand Junction Community Center is one of only two commercial buildings in Iowa that are net zero for energy.

A 44 kw solar array is part of making the Community Center net-zero energy |GCNO file photo


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