Colorado ranks fifth nationwide in the amount of solar power generated. New renewable-energy technologies (as well as a state mandate that Colorado’s investor-owned utilities get 30 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020) boost Colorado’s production and use of energy from wind and solar sources. “Colorado is widely regarded as national leader in solar innovation,” said Neal Lurie, executive director of the Denver-based Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA). “Many technologies have been developed at NREL, and now that solar photovoltaic module costs have come down 75 percent in the last three years, that’s brought solar within reach of Main Street Coloradans and Americans,” Lurie said.
Denver is the first in the nation to be designated as a “Solar Friendly Community”. Why? The average permit fee for a residential solar power system is nearly $500 in Colorado, but only $50 in Denver. Also, Denver’s permitting office can issue a permit at the counter in 15 minutes, while it can take up to 20 days in other jurisdictions. The award was given by the Solar Friendly Communities program, part of a national effort sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy to reduce the costs of installing solar power systems. “We are honored and delighted to be the first to earn this recognition for our efforts in making our city friendly to solar energy,’’ said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a statement. “We believe solar energy is an important part of our community’s future, and our hope is this recognition will lead to a variety of environmental and economic development benefits.’’