Community solar is helping to make clean energy an option for everyone and not just the select few. These include condominium owners, apartment dwellers, and those living where the sun’s availability is more limited. Colorado is on the leading edge of community solar initiatives, and another new project is helping to advance the state’s overall goals.
And CEC, which is managing the Aurora/Arapahoe solar installation, built the nation’s first community solar system in 2010 near El Jebel, Colorado. In the last three years, the group has installed 5.1 MW of community solar in Colorado, and plans to build 11 solar gardens in the state. The Aurora/Arapahoe Solar Array is the fifth of its planned facilities, built under Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community program.
The Aurora project isn’t the only community solar project this year in Colorado. REC built a 500KW project earlier this year in Boulder.
You can thank a Colorado community solar gardens law which came into effect in 2010 for all of these projects. The law makes utilities buy electricity from community solar gardens totaling 6MW of capacity by the end of this year (2013).
Can other jurisdictions in North America learn from Colorado’s example and push forward making solar energy more accessible to those who would otherwise not be able to go solar? That’s a question for other states or regional governments to look at as they look to improve the economic, energy, and environmental performance of their jurisdictions.
Image Credit: Colorado solar array photo via the Clean Energy Collective.
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