Published on February 5th, 2016 | by Jake Richardson1
5 Low-Income Community Solar Projects Announced In Colorado
February 5th, 2016 by Jake Richardson
About 579 kW of low-income solar projects have been announced by the Colorado Energy Office and GRID Alternatives. Five projects will be built by the Delta Montrose Electric Association, Gunnison County Electric Association, Holy Cross Energy, San Miguel Power Association, and the Yampa Valley Electric Association. They are being constructed to help provide electricity to those most in need – people who spend more than 4% of their income on utility bills in rural areas. It has been estimated that these customers could save about 50% on their energy bills when the community solar projects are operational.
A $1.2 million Colorado Energy Office (CEO) grant was given to GRID Alternatives (GRID) for low-income community solar. GRID also worked with the utilities to arrange for the community solar projects to be built.
“We have seen a tremendous groundswell of hard-working families wanting solar and the benefits it brings. These community solar projects not only provide solar access – they have a community impact. GRID brings savings to families that need it most, job training in a fast growing industry and clean, renewable energy that benefits everyone,” said Chuck Watkins, executive director of GRID Colorado.
When GRID Alternatives installs no or low-cost solar power systems on rooftops it sometimes uses job trainees and volunteers, so these people can gain job experience to advance their clean energy careers.
The organization has estimated there are about 20 million low-income, single family homes occupied by owners, so there are many opportunities for solar power systems to be installed that could make both a social and environmental impact.
Colorado is already among the top 10 US states for installed solar power capacity, but it could actually install 3,000 MW more by 2030, according to one estimate.
Everyone knows the mainstream media was all over the Solyndra collapse, but where are they for positive solar power stories like this? Similarly, the ‘bird death’ solar story which was grossly exaggerated by some media outlets made the rounds for a brief period, but why don’t they report about solar power helping low-income families?
Image Credit: cm195902, Wiki Commons