Community Solar Energy

It is plain to many that Colorado is exposed to a great amount of solar energy throughout the year.  Sitting at the rooftop of the lower 48 United States and with over 300 days of brilliant sunshine each calendar, the state is well-positioned to harness sunlight to help meet the energy needs of its residents.  However, local laws and perceived barriers to installing solar panels may prevent individuals from mounting energy-collecting structures on their homes.

On April 22, 2013, Earth Day, the solar company Clean Energy Collective broke ground on the first community solar array in the City and County of Denver.  Installed on the large roof of the Lowry neighborhood’s Hangar 2, a former aircraft housing unit, the solar panels will collect and disburse clean energy to the surrounding businesses and residents.  All one must do to obtain this power is simply buy the energy collected onsite from the company.  This way, there doesn’t have to be any solar panels on one’s property in order to receive and use solar energy.  This benefits homeowners and business owners that may not have properties particularly suitable to collecting energy on their own.  If there is not a sufficient amount of space for the equipment or if the property slopes to the north and away from direct exposure to sunshine, for example, then the property may be inadequate for the placement of solar panels.

Homeowner Associations (HOAs) are covenant controlled communities, and as so, some residents may think that if solar panels are not explicitly addressed in the governing documents then there may be no place for them in the association or that they are somehow not allowed.  While this is not true, thanks to Colorado state law C.R.S. 38-30-168, the opportunity to purchase energy from an outside source makes up for the lack of panels on the individual home.  This way, the homeowner can live more sustainably while at the same time avoid ruffling any feathers within his or her association.

It is possible to fuel a large property, such as a HOA, without having to buy into an offsite system run by another company.  If there is adequate space, usually two-to-four contiguous acres, and access to a three-phase electric cable, then it may be possible to install solar equipment in the common areas or other nearby open space for individual homes to tap.  Check with your local government to see if this type of renewable energy production is an approved use for your site.  Feel free to contact the Clean Energy Collective or visit www.easycleanenergy.com to find out more about community solar.  To discover more about sustainability in HOAs, browse www.capmanagement.com to discover what industry leader CAP Management is doing to promote sustainable living in the Front Range communities they manage.