Colorado’s Largest City Chooses Community Solar

SunShare community solar
Image courtesy of SunShare.

announced today that 400 kilowatts of solar energy from two of its Denver Gardens will soon be powering sixteen City-owned locations. One of the nation’s leading providers, is headquartered in the Mile High City, known for having over 300 days of sunshine a year.

A concept pioneered by the state of Colorado in 2010, Community Solar allows customers who either can’t or don’t want to put solar panels on their homes or properties to buy solar energy from a solar array located elsewhere in the community.

The City’s facilities that are benefiting from Community Solar will remain connected to Xcel Energy’s grid, but the City will see Community Solar credits on their electric bills for those premises. By switching to Community Solar, the city is estimated to save about$6 million over the course of 20 years.

“Participating in SunShare’s Community Solar Gardens enables us to save money by locking in electricity rates for the next 20 years while also promoting clean, renewable energy and supporting small local businesses like SunShare,” said Mayor Michael Hancock. “As far as Denver is concerned, this is a win-win situation.”

Colorado demonstrated incredible leadership as the first state in the nation to pass Community Solar legislation,” said Marc Bencivenni, Sr. Vice President of Business Development, SunShare. “Now Denver is extending that leadership as the largest city in the state to choose Community Solar to offset its energy needs.”

As part of Denver’s 2020 Sustainability Goals, the City is committed to doubling the production of renewable energy associated with City facilities. “This partnership with SunShare not only demonstrates the efficacy and affordability of this technology,” said Jerry Tinianow,Denver’s Chief Sustainability Officer, “but it also moves us one step closer to achieving the ambitious energy and climate goals we have laid out for ourselves.”

NRG Renew, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc., is partnering with SunShare to build 8.2 Megawatts (MWac) of Community Solar projects in the Denver Metro area, including 1 MWac of solar gardens in Denver County. Construction on the Denver County Solar Gardens is complete, and the gardens are producing energy directly into Xcel Energy’s grid.

SunShare is also offering its Community Solar program to Denver Metro residents.

Here is a video of Colorado’s governor discussing the signing of Colorado’s Community Solar Gardens Act Bill in 2013:


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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.

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