This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, whereHigh Country Newsreporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.
At a picnic table in a dry grass field, a group of elementary school students watched as high school senior Xavier Baty, a broad-shouldered 18-year-old in a camouflage ball cap and scuffed work boots, attached a hand-sized solar panel cell to a small motor connected to a fan. He held the panel to face the setting Colorado sun, adjusting its angle to vary the fan speed.
“Want to hear a secret?” he asked the kids around him. “This is the only science class I ever got an A in.” Continue reading here.
Nick Bowlin is an editorial fellow atHigh Country News.
The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) and nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives Colorado have announced the completion of a two‐year partnership focused on demonstrating the benefits of community solar for low‐income communities across the state. In 2015, CEO granted GRID $1.2 million to work with rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities to develop accessible, affordable community solar models that provide meaningful bill savings to subscribed customers and reduce household energy burden.
In Colorado, approximately 30% of households – many located in rural areas – are considered energy burdened, meaning they pay more than 4% of their income on utility bills. Of that 30% in Colorado, 11% are considered energy impoverished, paying more than 10% of their income on utility bills. Continue reading.
Continuing to grow solar energy resources will ultimately mean finding ways for all utility customers to have access, not just those with a perfect roof or credit score, according to Colorado stakeholders.
“Colorado has always been a leader in renewable energy, and now we take another innovative step forward as we create community solar models that are more affordable and available to Colorado rural electric cooperatives and the low-income communities they serve,” Colorado Energy Office (CEO) Director Jeff Ackermann said in a statement.