Solar energy International

construction, North Fork Valley
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

A few years ago, a grassroots program started in Portland to encourage people to adopt solar power. That idea spread across the county and inspired similar initiatives like one in a rural community in western Colorado. 

A crew of six is working to install mounts for solar panels on a residential rooftop in Delta County. 

This home sits atop a mesa that overlooks the North Fork Valley. And, it’s the first to get a sun-powered system through a local pro-solar campaign.  

solar panel, solar workers, Solar Energy International
Solar Energy International

The U.S. Department of Energy is piloting a program that trains military personnel for careers in the solar industry. The Reach for the Sun course is designed for people exiting the service and returning to civilian life. Paonia-based Solar Energy International is leading two of the three pilot programs including one at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. KVNF’s Laura Palmisano speaks to Kathy Swartz, the executive director of SEI, an educational nonprofit, about the project.


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The solar energy business is growing fast, thanks in part to a steep drop in panel prices.

Solar historian and author John Perlin speaks with Ali Lightfoot about his book "Let It Shine" which delves into the rich and often unknown history of solar energy dating back several millennia ago.

Jake Ryan

With pushes for greener technology and scientific advancements, the future of America's electricity is changing. 

Mountain Harvest Festival, Grape Stomp
Laura Palmisano / KVNF

The 14th annual Mountain Harvest Festival took place in Paonia over the weekend. And one of its events is messier than the others.

The Contest

Four-year-old Tazzy Wilensky is about to compete in the Grape Stomp contest at the festival.

She’s dressed like a butterfly and is a bit shy.

She says she's there to "squish grapes" and it's here first time trying it.

Lena Wilensky is Tazzy’s mom. She’s also dressed like a butterfly.

Energy reporter, Eden Clearwater interviews Jeff Tobe about the future of solar energy.