Denver - Denver ranked 9th nationwide for solar energy capacity (per capita), landing it among the nation’s leaders for installing clean energy according to the sixth edition of Shining Cities: the Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, released today by Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center. This is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities. The annual report also highlighted that total solar in Denver has doubled since 2015.
“The Mile High City is one of America’s Solar Stars, doubling our solar power over the last few years and leading the way to a clean energy future,” said Kelsey Maxwell, advocate with Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center. “With tens of thousands of rooftops across the city, Denver can serve as a major source of clean energy production that will benefit everyone.”
For years Denver has made investing in clean and affordable solar energy a priority. Here are some of the things that Denver has done over the years:
Reduced the cost and time of obtaining permits and inspections to install solar.
Worked to ensure solar is available to all by creating a new 100% low-income community solar garden program through Xcel Energy and subscribing city facilities to 3 community solar gardens.
Partnered with Solar Benefits Colorado in 2015 to offer a group buy program.
Announced the 80x50 Climate Action Plan which sets ambitious goals including 100% renewable electricity for municipal facilities by 2025 and citywide by 2030.
The city has committed to continuing to increase its building code standard to reach net-zero energy for new buildings, and already has a "cool roof" standard that includes solar
“As the first solar-friendly community, Denver recognizes the importance of reducing our carbon emissions and embracing progressive climate and energy goals. That’s why we have made it easier for our residents and businesses to go solar,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “From streamlining solar permitting and inspections to working with Xcel Energy and stakeholders to ensure equitable access to solar energy, Denver is proud to be a Solar Star.”
Although Denver has doubled its solar PV capacity over the past three years, the city has not even come close to maximizing potential solar capacity. To remain a national leader businesses, community members, and elected officials must continue to work together to expand this industry. The Shining Cities study found that while Denver produces 91.4 MW of solar PV today, it could produce 677 MW by maximizing the use of solar on Denver’s rooftops.
“Each year we harness more and more of the enormous solar energy potential in Denver and across Colorado,” said Kelsey. “We still have a long way to go, but leading cities like Denver are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”
“Solar energy benefits our entire community,” said Eliot Abel, Director of Commercial Project Development at Namasté Solar, a Colorado-based home and commercial solar installer. “Denver residents and commercial property owners that go solar benefit financially from reduced electricity bills and increased property values. Our economy benefits from local job creation. At Namasté Solar, for example, we’ve increased our workforce by 23% in the last year alone. And, Denver residents benefit from improved air quality within our city thanks to clean, emission-free energy.”