A program that's bringing solar power to lower-income members earned a Colorado co-op a big honor.

Poudre Valley REA has been named Electric Cooperative Utility of the Year for 2018 by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) as part of its Power Player Awards.

In announcing the award June 12, SEPA praised the Fort Collins, Colorado-based co-op for its partnership with the nonprofit GRID Alternatives and the Colorado Energy Office to build the Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm. The 1.95-megawatt array, which was completed in September, is able to serve around 150 low-income qualified residents in Poudre Valley REA's service territory.

"PVREA's project was unique for involving a specific low and moderate income component," SEPA noted.

"We developed the Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm as a mechanism to serve all our members with solar energy and we're proud to be able to deliver that opportunity," said Jeff Wadsworth, Poudre Valley REA president and CEO. "Many thanks to our partners and employees who worked on this innovative project that created solar energy opportunities for all our members, and to our members for supporting us in this endeavor."

Under the "PV for All" program, there are no out-of-pocket costs and participation will never result in a bill increase. Income guidelines vary by both the size of the member's family and the county where they live. The range is from an annual gross income of $41,000 for a single person in Weld County to $89,800 for a family of eight in Boulder County.