The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) Renewable Energy Challenge grant program has awarded Denver $1 million to support its Renewable Denver Initiative. The city’s initiative will help Denver meet its goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 by hosting low-cost community solar gardens across municipal properties.
The solar gardens will be sited over municipal parking lots such as at recreation centers, libraries, or schools. The electricity generated will be shared between the municipal facilities and low-income residents in the surrounding areas. The arrays also provide ideal locations to co-locate with publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations.
“This initiative is an opportunity to improve our air, mitigate the effects of climate change, and invest in our community. And by leading on climate issues, it’s also a way to help residents lower their electric bills,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock.
The 2020 Energy Future Collaboration Work Plan, a collaboration between the City and Xcel Energy, calls for installing community solar gardens throughout Denver. The Colorado Solar and Storage Association and its members also provided valuable feedback over several months during the development of the initiative and grant application process.
“Hosting community solar gardens on municipal property is new in Colorado and holds significant promise,” said Jonathan Rogers, Renewable Energy Specialist in Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. “Compared to privately-owned land, municipal sites can be made available at lower cost and this approach also provides solar power to members of the community.”
DOLA’s Renewable Energy Challenge grant program has supported local government efforts to implement demonstration projects that will move communities towards 100 percent renewable electricity by 2040. The grant funding will help Denver test the Renewable Denver Initiative to determine if it can serve as a model for future projects throughout the state.
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