Colorado Springs Utilities sells out Community Solar Garden before construction


Colorado Springs Utilities is celebrating a historic moment in its community solar market. The utility's Community Solar Garden -- the nation's largest privately developed and subscribed -- has sold out even before construction begins on the 10,000-plus solar panel installation this fall. In November 2013, SunShare won the community solar contract under a public bidding process through Colorado Springs Utilities.

A model for community solar. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: Solar Gardens Institute

Customers enrolled number more than 400 residential, governmental and commercial clients, including such leaders in Colorado as the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Library District, Security Water District and the City of Manitou Springs. Even more customers are on a waiting list for the next Colorado Springs project, which it hopes to build early in 2015.

Pioneered in Colorado with the 2010 Community Solar Gardens Act, community solar has experienced extraordinary growth over the past few years. Currently, 16 states from New York to Georgia are working on similar legislation.

More than 75 percent of homeowners, businesses, and government organizations do not have suitable rooftops for solar panels because of trees, shading from other buildings, and other physical restrictions. Unlike other forms of solar energy, like rooftop panels or large utility scale systems built for large energy companies, Community Solar allows all customers to simply choose to produce their own clean, locally generated solar energy without restriction.

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