NRG Renew and SunShare were joined by Governor John Hickenlooper, project partners, and community members to celebrate the completion of one of the nation’s largest community solar portfolios in Colorado. The Denver Community Solar Garden has a full capacity of 8.2MW and is expected to generate 350 million kWh of energy over the next 20 years.
Under the agreement, NRG Renew will build, finance and operate the projects while SunShare will offer customers the option to purchase a specific amount of energy from the solar gardens and receive a credit on their Xcel Energy bill for that amount.
"Colorado continues to embrace solar energy, having been the first state in the nation to pass a Community Solar Gardens act that allows residents, communities and businesses access to solar energy," commented Governor John Hickenlooper.
The Denver Community Solar Garden is the first of five planned solar projects throughout Colorado's largest counties. The remaining four projects are currently under construction and will be completed later this summer. Hundreds of residents, commercial businesses and municipalities have already signed up to participate. Power harvested from the solar garden will be enough to power 1,600 typical U.S. homes and avoid more than 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide and is equivalent to removing more than 50,000 vehicles from the road.
NRG Renew’s senior vice president of development, Craig Cornelius, said that the goal of Community Solar is to make solar energy accessible to everyone. With the Colorado government and people’s supports to community solar energy, David Amster-Olszewski, founder and CEO of SunShare, expressed his appreciation at the celebration. "Our vision at SunShare is to make solar energy truly accessible to anyone, everywhere,” said the CEO.
Community Solar Gardens let customers who either can't or don't want to put solar panels on their homes buy solar energy from a solar array located elsewhere in the community. Electricity generated by the solar gardens will be fed into the main power grid.