City Council Approves Multimillion Dollar Contract to Install Solar

Published on December 01, 2021

DENVER — Denver City Council approved a $26 million contract to build and operate more than a dozen solar projects. Residents will soon see solar arrays at several locations across the city, including some of Denver’s parks and recreation centers and a Denver Public Schools high school campus.  

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 investment in solar energy will jumpstart that shift, with opportunities to scale solar energy more quickly in the future. About 30% of the energy generated will be allocated to low-income housing and Denver Public Schools families struggling to pay their energy bills, reducing energy costs for those households. CASR expects a return on the investment through energy savings and solar incentive payments from Xcel Energy. Money earned by the solar projects will be spent on other solar programs that support low-income residents. 

"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.” 

This is one of the first major projects from Denver’s Climate Protection Fund, which provides up to $40 million annually for CASR to address climate change. A key part of the project includes workforce development and training to create and expand green job opportunities.

“We have an incredible opportunity right now to maximize our Climate Protection Fund dollars to benefit Denverites on many fronts,” said Jonathan Rogers, Denver’s Renewable Energy Specialist. “We’re putting Denver on a healthier path with renewable energy, we’re reducing the financial burden on families and we’re creating the workforce of the future with high-quality training. Those who learn the skills of this green workforce today will be increasingly in high-demand for clean energy jobs in the coming years.” 

CASR will work with McKinstry to break ground in early 2022.  

Additional energy programs complement this major investment. The Denver Solar Co-op is a group-purchasing program that lowers costs for homeowners seeking to install solar and provides rebates for low-to-moderate income households interested in solar and battery storage. CASR also recently announced a new incentive program that will provide Human Service Providers, such as affordable housing providers, childcare centers and food pantries, with funding to install equipment that runs on clean energy and increases the resiliency of their buildings. Those upgrades include solar panels, battery storage systems and vehicle-to-building electric charging.Applications for Human Service Providers to apply for funding are open now and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. 

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About Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency  

Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver City Council created the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency to manage the City's ambitious emission reduction goals and sustainability programs in collaboration with fellow departments, other units of government, and community partners. The office ensures that the City's targets are aligned with current climate science, promotes the role that climate action and sustainability play in strengthening Denver's economic vitality and a prosperous future for all residents and businesses, and embraces equity as a value and practice in all of its work. 

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