Solar Arrays and Denver

Solar Panels
Photo Credit: www.fm.colostate.edu

Solar Arrays are quickly becoming popular means of supplying homes and businesses with solar energy.

In late June 2015, the City and County of Denver signed a deal to get 400 kilowatts of energy from solar arrays to help power some its government buildings, proving that arrays benefit any building. This blog explores what solar arrays are and how they can be a benefit to your Denver-area home, business or other property.

Solar arrays are a great thing – and Denver knows it. The government of the city has agreed to use energy from a solar array located within its boundaries, operated by SunShare LLC, to power 2% of City functions. While that may not seem like a lot, Denver is, of course, not a small city, and the savings compared to using fossil-fuel-based electricity amount to $6,000,000 over the contract period. In fact, the amount of energy represents 40% of the total possible output of this particular array, which is the maximum amount allowable for any one recipient of energy from any community (i.e. shared) solar array.

The decision to make government energy consumption more sustainable and affordable via the use of solar arrays, also called solar gardens, represents an encouraging gesture for private and associated homeowners to do the same. An array is an off-site collection of solar panels is electrically tied to a building or buildings some distance away. Simply put, they allow you to use solar power without having the solar panels actually on your property. This is good news for homeowners associations for several reasons.

Like with the architecture of some government buildings, some homes may not be supportive of solar panels placed on the roofs of the structures. It is said that at this time, given the history of home construction in the country, only 25% of homes in America can physically support solar panels. Bringing energy in from a collection of solar panels on the ground makes the renewable energy available to all or most homes.

Second, HOAs tend to be fond of architectural conformity. Taking energy from a solar array to provide energy to some (or all) homes, for example, alleviates the need for some buildings having solar panels and others not. In addition, we are still in a time where some homeowners think that solar panels are ‘ugly,’ and thus do not want them on their homes regardless of the benefits they are able provide. An off-site solar garden alleviates that concern as well.

The move by the City and County of Denver was done in part to meet the requirement of its “Denver 2020 Sustainability Goals” that necessitates the City double the amount of renewable energy used to power its municipal buildings and facilities. While Denver HOAs and owners of single-family-detached homes need not have their own “2020” sustainability goals (though it is a good/fun idea), they can partake in use of solar garden energy just like the City and numerous other organizations. Feel free to reach out to CAP Management’s Sustainability Department for more information.