LOUISVILLE, Colo., July 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Paul Spencer, the founder and CEO of Louisville, Colo.-based Clean Energy Collective, received the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 Award in the Services category for the Mountain Desert region. At the helm the world's leading community solar developer, Mr. Spencer was recognized for his success of not just starting a new company, but spawning an entirely new market that today is revolutionizing the solar industry.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award honors the contribution of the men and women who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. Mr. Spencer was selected by an independent panel of judges from a field of several thousand of the best and brightest entrepreneurs throughout Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico that have demonstrated excellence and success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Spencer and his company introduced the country's first community-owned solar model in 2010 with his local utility – Holy Cross Energy – that gave all ratepayers in a partnering utility territory equal access to the benefits of local clean power generation through shared solar facilities. His innovative community-owned solar model unlocked a market of consumers that is 500% larger than existing rooftop solar. Last year Clean Energy Collective was named one of the 2014 Inc. 500 Fastest Growing U.S. Private Companies for revenue growth of more than 2,200 percent, and today is the world's leading provider of roofless community solar capacity.

"What a fantastic honor," Mr. Spencer said. "When we started Clean Energy Collective six years ago, we had a vision of making a positive impact in solar energy and we wanted our technology to disrupt the industry one solar panel at a time—by making solar not only 100 percent accessible, but by making it a smart financial investment and a smart environmental investment." Spencer adds, "While I personally received the award, the CEC team made this all possible, and I can't express enough how gratifying it is for us to have been acknowledged."

He received the award at a special gala event at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. As a regional semifinalist, Mr. Spencer will advance to the national Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 program, where winners will be announced at the annual awards gala on Nov. 14 in Palm Springs, Cali.

About Clean Energy Collective

A solar tech start-up in 2009, Clean Energy Collective (CEC) has grown to become the world's leading developer of Roofless Community Solar solutions. CEC pioneered the model of delivering clean power-generation through medium-scale solar PV facilities accessible to all utility customers. Since establishing the first community-owned solar array in the country in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado, CEC has built or has under development more than 90 Roofless Community Solar projects with 21 utility partners serving thousands of customers across 10 states, representing over 100 MW of community solar capacity. www.easycleanenergy.com

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=34276

Tim Braun
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