New Report: Denver among nation’s solar leaders

For Immediate Release

Denver, CO - Denver has more solar per capita than any other major city in the Rocky Mountain region, and ranks 7th nationally according to a new report by Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center. According to the report the solar stature of Denver is owed largely to policies that reduce the costs of going solar.

 “Denver  is a star when it comes to solar power,” said Kim Stevens, Campaign Director of Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center. “The fact is, solar is good for cities, and cities are good for solar.”

 Nationally, Denver is among the leaders for per capita solar, beating out cities like Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Albuquerque in the Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy.

 “Denver was recognized as the nation's first Solar Friendly Community in 2012 because of leadership in making it faster, easier and more affordable for residents to go solar through streamlined permitting,'' said Rebecca Cantwell, Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. "We look forward to continued work with the city to maintain its solar leadership role.''

 Solar power is on the rise across the country, with another panel or project installed every three minutes last year. Plummeting costs, increasing public concern over global warming and energy independence, and technological innovation have all played a role in spurring the growth of the pollution-free energy source.

 Just in the last week alone, Fort Collins broke ground on a 2,000-panel solar garden, and in Grand Junction, Grand Valley Power and GRID Alternatives are creating a solar garden that will exclusively help low-income families in Mesa County.

 According to researchers who examined solar power installations in 70 American cities in nearly every state, Denver had enough solar energy online at the end of last year to power just over 10,000 homes, more than San Francisco. 

 While solar power is growing in Colorado, and throughout the nation, utility companies are campaigning to increase fees for rooftop solar, which they see as a direct threat to their business model.  Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, has urged state lawmakers to cut essential programs that have helped Coloradans go solar. 

 Environment Colorado urges city officials and legislators to reject Xcels’s attack on solar, and calls on city leaders across the state to go solar.

 “With prices going down and concern about global warming going up, solar power is growing in our state,”said Stevens. “But we still get less than three percent of our energy from the sun. We need state leaders to continue the policies that allow solar to shine.”

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Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.Environmentcoloradocenter.org