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Boulder County, cities partner on new solar benefits program

Publish Date: February 16th, 2016

This article was originally published in the Daily Camera by Jerd Smith.

Boulder County, in partnership with the cities within its boundaries, is launching an expanded version of a solar benefits program it piloted last year, giving commercial users, as well as homeowners and residents the opportunity to buy discounted solar panels and electric vehicles.

 “Last year’s Solar Benefits made going solar simple and more affordable for residents and this year’s program is no different. Solar Benefits Boulder County improves on last year’s program by providing even better pricing,” said Susie Strife, Sustainability Coordinator for Boulder County in a statement.

The 2015 initiative, conducted along with Denver and Adams counties, exceeded goals for sale of electric cars and solar panels and was extended several weeks to accommodate demand.

The program is popular in part because it involves no county, federal or state funds. Instead, the county has negotiated deals with the vendors, who were willing to lower their prices in exchange for winning the business of a larger number of customers.

Namaste Solar has been selected as the vendor for the residential and commercial solar rooftop program.

The first phase of the program, the residential rooftop portion, launched Feb. 16, with homeowners facing a May 15, 2016 deadline to sign up with Namaste Solar for a proposal. Homeowners will have until May 31 to sign a contract.

The commercial rooftop solar program is expected to launch April 1, with customers facing a June 30 deadline to signup.

The electric vehicle program also is expected to launch April 1 and close June 30. No vendor has been selected for this portion of the program yet.

Joe Montoya, Namaste's director of residential sales, said pricing for rooftop systems will be lower this year, with an average cost of $3.50 cents per kilowatt dropping to about $2.73 cents for a system that is 6.5 to 9.9 kilowatts in size. The per kilowatt cost will decline as systems grow in size.

“There is no cookie-cutter size,” Montoya said. “Each is individually designed. Smaller systems might be a little bit more, large systems might be a little bit less.”

The initiative comes as Colorado continues to be among the national leaders in adopting use of renewable technologies. According to a 2015 report from the Golden-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory for instance, Colorado ranks seventh in the country for electric vehicle sales per capita, with 0.02 vehicles sold per person. Hawaii ranks No. 1, with 1.03 electric vehicles per person.

Last year, the Boulder County program generated 87 new solar rooftop installations and the sale of 173 electric Nissan Leafs, according to data provided by the county. For more information visit

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Image credit: Jeremy Papasso, Daily Camera Staff Photographer.