Colorado Embraces Community Solar Gardens

Colorado Embraces Community Solar Gardens

SunShare has contracted to provide Colorado’s Adams County government with power from a community solar garden. Instead of installing small projects on individual roofs, SunShare finds suitable areas to establish large solar projects called community solar gardens that incorporate thousands of panels. These gardens enable solar power delivery to homes that would otherwise be unable to have solar. Adams County will be one of the first counties in the United States to power its regional government buildings with community solar energy.

Nick Kittle, Adams County’s the performance, innovation, and sustainability manager believes, “It makes financial sense and builds on our growing leadership role as an environmentally responsible community. We will continue to make more sustainable choices as an organization, and we’re excited to partner with SunShare to bring more solar gardens to Adams County. We believe this project is a winning opportunity for our organization, our community, and our citizens and we are excited to be one of the first counties in the nation to be a partner in a community solar garden.”

In 2010 the Colorado State legislature passed the country’s first Community Solar Gardens Act. Since then 16 other states have established their own community solar gardens programs, which allow customers to buy solar energy from a solar array located elsewhere in the community.

In Adams County, electricity generated by SunShare’s solar gardens is fed into the main power grid. The company’s customers then purchase a specific amount of energy from the solar garden and receive a credit on their Xcel Energy bill for that amount.

J.W. Postal, SunShare’s senior vice president, says, “The community solar model is quickly emerging as a major force in the renewable energy sector. Partnerships like this demonstrate the immense demand for community solar. Xcel Energy is a key partner in the solar gardens model. Xcel took a leadership role by becoming the largest investor-owned utility in the country to implement a community solar garden program.”

SunShare has more than 11 megawatts of community solar gardens built or under development in Colorado’s Front Range. The company also has projects underway with Colorado Springs Utilities and Xcel Energy with the capacity to serve more than 2,200 homes.

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