Solar Co-Op Launches for Unincorporated Adams County
Adams County and the Cities of Northglenn and Westminster have formed a regional collaboration with the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors (SUN) to launch the Adams County Solar Co-op to help area residents and business owners go solar.
“One of the goals of Adams County’s sustainability plan is to expand clean energy opportunities for all residents,” said Lynn Baca, chair of the board of County Commissioners. “By working in tandem with Northglenn and Westminster, we can move closer to reaching all our goals by establishing this solar co-op. But the real winners are the residents and businesses who will enjoy reduced energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint after joining the co-op and installing their solar panels.”
The solar co-op is free to join and is open to homeowners and business owners in unincorporated Adams County and the cities of Northglenn and Westminster. Together, co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a discounted group price. Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels, electric vehicle chargers, and battery storage based on the installer’s group rate.
“Northglenn is so excited to be a part of the Adams County Solar Co-op!” shared City of Northglenn Mayor Meredith Leighty.”Sustainability is a key element in our strategic plan, and this will offer our residents another opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint.”
Last year, the City of Westminster launched their first solar co-op with 88 families who joined. Two dozen projects were installed totaling 168 kW of solar capacity. This resulted in nearly $500,000 of economic investment that is anticipated to save families nearly $750,000 over the lifetime of those systems.
“Westminster and SUN partnered on a very successful solar co-op in 2021, and we want to expand that success to more homeowners,” said Paul Scmiechen, chief sustainability officer with Westminster. “The 2022 co-op will help Westminster residents install a cleaner electricity source, save residents money on their energy bills, and create greater neighborhood collaboration – and those three reasons are the classic definition of community sustainability.”
After a competitive bidding process facilitated by SUN, co-op members will select a single solar company to complete the installations. SUN provides guidance on the process but remains vendor neutral, empowering the co-op members to decide.
“Solar United Neighbors helps families explore what going solar means for them,” said Bryce Carter, Colorado program director with Solar United Neighbors. “We’re grateful to collaborate with communities regionally. This collaboration allows us to help more families go solar and expand who has access to solar energy. We do this in a variety of ways such as providing a solar equity rebate, elevating innovative financing opportunities, and addressing language barriers.”
“It was great to be able to go through the solar co-op process myself,” said Jonathan Rogers, a member of the 2020 Denver Solar Co-op. “The process was easy to go through, enables me to share my experience with other residents considering solar through the co-op, and saves me money on my electricity bills.”
Additional partners include the Denver Foundation, who has provided seed funding to launch a Solar Equity fund for low-to-moderate income residents, and the Colorado Clean Energy Fund, who are supporting inclusive financing solutions for co-op participants.
SUN will host several free informational webinars to educate community members about solar energy and the co-op. Individuals interested in going solar can sign up for the co-op or one of the upcoming information sessions at the co-op web page. The co-op will be open to new members until August 10.