By - Jim Vess

Colorado, the leader in community solar, set to get six more solar gardens on Western Slope

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018

Colorado—the leading state in the nation for community solar gardens—is set to get six more of the shared arrays, with a total of 10.3 megawatts (MW) of generation, on the state’s more rural Western Slope.

The sites are all located along the Interstate 70 corridor and are being developed by Pivot Energy and Standard Solar.

Denver-based Pivot Energy will build the installations, and Rockville, Md.-based Standard Solar will finance, own and operate them.

“Community solar is one of the great opportunities to bring solar to people who might not otherwise be able to put solar on their own roofs,” Scott Wiater, CEO of Standard Solar, said in a statement. “It’s an exciting, yet underserved, segment of the industry. We’re aiming to change that reality.”

In solar gardens, individuals, businesses and government agencies can buy a share of the output, which is usually then credited against their electricity bills. An analysis by the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that 49 percent of households and 48 percent of businesses cannot install rooftop solar because they rent or do not have suitable roof space.

The Colorado Energy Office said the state leads the nation in solar gardens with 70, which have a total of 50 MW of generating capacity.

The new projects will consist of both ground-mounted and rooftop arrays.

Four of the solar gardens are already 100 percent subscribed:

·         100 kilowatts on land owned by Garfield Housing Authority, Parachute, Colo.

·         1 MW on land west of Silt, Colo.

·         2 MW on south side of Palisade, Colo.

·         2 MW in an industrial area in Grand Junction, Colo.

The projects in Parachute and Palisade are currently under construction. The Silt and Grand Junction sites will begin construction before the end of the year.

Two additional community solar projects located in Silt and Grand Junction are currently seeking subscriptions and will be built in 2019.

“There is strong customer demand for community solar because it saves money, generates clean local energy, and creates local jobs,” Rick Hunter, CEO of Pivot Energy, said in a statement. “Many of our customers are municipalities and school districts that are balancing tight budgets and want to benefit from the savings provided by subscribing to our projects.”

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