Community solar program to power Adams County, Colorado

Colorado’s Adams County has this week penned a deal that will see all of its regional government buildings rely on community-generated solar energy produced via the Community Solar Gardens program.

The program, developed by Denver-based SunShare – one of the first community solar providers in the U.S. – allows customers who either cannot or do not want to install solar panels on their home to purchase solar energy from a pre-installed solar array in the community. That power is then fed into the main power grid, and SunShare customers can buy a specific share of solar from the ‘solar garden’ and receive a credit on their bill for that amount.

The Community Solar Gardens Act was first passed in Colorado in 2010, leading the nation at the time and the source of inspiration for 15 subsequent states to create their own legislation for Community Solar Gardens programs.

"Adams County has made an important first step in moving to cleaner energy," said Adams County performance, innovation and sustainability manager Nick Kittle. "We believe that this project is a winning opportunity for our organization, our community and our citizens and we are excited to be the first county in the nation to be a partner in a community solar garden."

SunShare, which oversees the program, added that such partnerships demonstrate the immense demand for community solar programs demonstrated across the U.S. "The community solar model is quickly emerging as a major force in the renewable energy sector," said SunShare’e senior VP, J.W. Postal.

There is currently more than 11 MW of solar capacity installed by SunShare across the state of Colorado, with projects currently underway with Colorado Spring Utilities and Xcel Energy to serve the solar needs of more than 2,200 local households.