Under the Community Solar Gardens Act, which was implemented last year in Colorado, REC Solar completed the first of four community solar projects.
This is the first community solar project completed under Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community program, which allows Xcel Energy’s customers to purchase electricity directly from “solar gardens” off site.
Andy Noel, director of utility-scale EPC at REC Solar, said: “This innovative model expands solar access to all Xcel Energy customers who are interested in the carbon-reducing and cost-savings benefits of solar, regardless of location or income.”
He also noted, “Boulder was very attractive because we have a very large residential presence and about 75% of the people we interact with can’t put solar on their home or on their business. It gives us another tool in the toolbag to be able to have a backup offer for residential customers that can’t put solar on their roof.”
75% of the people they interact with can’t put solar on their homes and business? That’s an enormous percentage! This is partly due to the fact that some of them do not own their homes outright, but rent them. Others live in multifamily buildings and don’t have control over what’s on the roof. And others simply have heavily shaded or otherwise inadequate roofs.
If you are such a person and you don’t have the community solar garden option, however, how do you address such a situation?
One possibility is to start approaching home owners which rent their houses out with a plan tailored to suit them. I know I would love to rent a solar-powered house as opposed to one that isn’t.
The rent could be increased to compensate for the cost of the solar system, since the system would result in much lower or no electric bills.
Of course, more community solar garden legislation in other locations would certainly help.