Today Denver completed the installation of the first two of 11 new community solar gardens. The inaugural projects are located at the new National Western Center, and residents will continue to see other solar gardens popping up over the next year at city facilities and parks such as the Montbello Recreation Center, Harvard Gulch Recreation Center, Lowry Tennis Courts, and Central Park Recreation Center.
Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) is charged with rapidly and equitably transitioning the city to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This $26M investment in community solar gardens will jumpstart that shift, increasing equitable access to clean energy in Denver. Over 30% of the power generated will be allocated to support low-income housing and Denver Public Schools families who need help paying their energy bills.
“Denver residents are clear that they want their city to act urgently to address climate change. And we are. Investing in community solar gardens improves our air quality and reduces emissions,” said Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “We’re reducing the financial burden on families while transitioning Denver to cleaner energy sources.”
These solar arrays are one of the biggest investments to date of the Climate Protection Fund, a $40 million annual fund dedicated to taking climate action. Once completed, these 11 community solar gardens will produce 9.6 million kWh per year, avoiding emissions equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road.
"We are both excited and honored to collaborate with Denver in bringing access to renewable energy to our Denver Public Schools families,” said LeeAnn Kittle, Director of Sustainability for Denver Public Schools. “Not only will this help get our city to 100% renewable energy, but it will also lower energy costs for many of our families.”
CASR partnered with McKinstry to design, build and maintain these community solar gardens. The projects also provide paid training opportunities for clean energy jobs, student internships, and hands-on classroom activities.
“McKinstry is honored to support Denver in its equitable transition to renewable energy,” said Bryan Hanson, Vice President of Energy, Mountain Region for McKinstry. “Such a monumental task requires strong city leadership, a mandate from the residents of Denver and a team of like-minded partners equally committed to driving positive change in our environment and our communities. This innovative approach has brought about a tremendous amount of creativity and collaboration. Innovation is hard work. The City and County of Denver is leading the way with a program that can be leveraged by other like-minded cities across the US, demonstrating how renewable energy can be a force for positive change and fiscal responsibility.”
Learn more about Denver’s solar energy efforts, including solar rebate programs for Denver households and incentives for non-profits and public schools, at www.denvergov.org/solar