(Nov. 19) – Yesterday was the ribbon cutting of seven new solar arrays, installed by Vibrant Solar, in Fowler, Colo. Governor Bill Ritter and a slew of locals and visiting installers were in town to celelbrate the unveiling of 137 total kilowatts of solar, a project which Town Administrator L. Wayne Snider began some time ago.
"This has been a journey, which started in April of 2007,” said Snider. “It started three years ago, and we’re not finished yet.”
The festivities began in Fowler Elementary's school gymnasium. Snider addressed the crowd, which included Gov. Ritter.
“It’s unbelievable, this kind of turnout,” Snider said. He joked with the crowd a bit. “We’re starting to put Fowler on the map, and a few people know who we are and where we are, and it shows because they were able to find their way here today.”
Fowler is not only installing solar, but renovating some downtown buildings, including the town’s theatre, and rebuilding sidewalks.
Snider introduced Gov. Ritter to a roar of applause.
“I wish all my audiences were this nice,” Gov. Ritter joked.
Governor Ritter spoke about the Sustainable Main Street Initiative, a large-scale renovation project, which was enacted by Ritter. Fowler's solar installations are a part of that initiative.
“It’s really about the entire town, not just one street,” said Gov. Ritter. “So what we did was look around the state, and we developed four communities.”
Those four communities comprise Fowler, Rifle, Monte Vista, and the Five Points neighborhood in Denver.
Gov. Ritter talked about the reason he chose Fowler.
“When we think about leadership, we think about president or the governor, but in this town, you have leaders,” said Gov. Ritter. “They’re not just thinking about today. They’re thinking ten years, twenty years, thirty years ahead.”
Over the course of his 10-minute speech, which was, after all, mostly geared toward the children in the audience, Gov. Ritter spoke about energy. He asked the children in the audience if they knew what it meant to be “sustainable.”
A young girl slowly raised her hand. “It means it’s sturdy, and it will keep going,” she said.
“That’s it,” replied the Governor. “Why is solar sustainable? In Colorado, it shines 360 days a year. Why wouldn’t we use the sun to power things?”
The Governor didn’t use the platform to sling mud at other energy sources, however.
“I’m not beating up on fossil fuels, but there’s a lot of ways to think about energy, and solar is one of them,” he said.
After his speech, Gov. Ritter asked the children if they had any questions. Immediately, a hand shot up in the front row of seated children. A young boy cleared his throat.
“Why did you decide to become a democrat instead of a republican?” he asked. Huge laughs.
Story continues here.
Pictured: Gov. Ritter speaks to the crowd at Fowler's 400 6th st. solar installation.