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Community Solar Gardens in Colorado: How to Go Solar if Home Solar isn't an Option

Publish Date: November 30th, 2018

At Namaste Solar, our goal is to put extra cash in your pocket while helping you transition to cleaner energy that benefits the planet. The best way for you to save the most and to have the largest positive impact is to run your home off clean solar energy with a solar panel system of your own. However, if you want to help the environment for decades to come but outfitting your home with solar panels isn’t an option, we’re still here to help. Sometimes a home’s roof is just too shaded, or you might rent a home or apartment, or your townhome doesn’t allow solar panel installations. The good news is you can still benefit from solar energy and help the environment through community solar or solar farms in Colorado.

How to Go Solar with Community Solar Programs

So how does community solar work? At the most basic level, you are buying electricity from a solar farm that offsets the less-green energy you use from your utility company. It’s a bit more complicated than that, though, so bear with us as we explain.

Here’s the deal: Even though many electric companies have begun investing in green energy, there’s no way to guarantee that the electricity you use in your home comes from any one particular source. Unless you have your own solar panels producing energy on your roof, you can’t buy only green energy from the utility. It would be like trying to go to the supermarket and buy a jug of milk sourced from one particular cow. It just doesn’t work that way.

So, community solar programs have figured out a workaround. You can’t directly buy clean energy for your own home, but you can contribute to pumping more clean energy into the system. It works like this… You pay a subscription fee to a company that runs a solar farm, they produce energy that goes right back onto the grid, and then your electric company gives you a credit on your bill based on how much electricity your share of the solar farm produced. It’s hard to say exactly how much money this may save you because your savings are dependent on a number of different variables that are specific to the solar farm you are subscribed to.

Just like a community garden benefits the whole neighborhood, community solar farms can provide or offset electricity for a large number of people. Namaste Solar just completed construction on four 2-megawatt community solar gardens right in our backyard. Known as the Venture Community Solar Gardens or the Sunlight Peak Community Solar Gardens, they are open to all Xcel Energy customers located in Colorado.

These community solar gardens, located just east of Denver in Aurora, benefit local Coloradans at every stage of the process: the owner of the solar panels makes money selling electricity to the grid via subscriptions to people who want clean energy; those individual residents save money on their electric bills (and gain good environmental karma for using the cleanest energy); the farmer who owns the property makes money leasing their land to the solar panel owner; and the city itself earns property tax from the system, which goes back into the community by funding local programs. To learn more about these projects or to subscribe, you can visit their profile on PowerMarket, our subscription manager, and use the promo code “Namaste” when you sign up.

If you’re located outside of Xcel Colorado territory, there may still be options for you to participate in community solar. The best way to find out if you’re eligible to subscribe is to check with your utility. If they don’t have a program in place but you’re still interested in participating, let them know! Your feedback may help create new opportunities for utility customers like you to participate in community solar.

Use Your Land for Community Solar

Just because you can’t put solar panels on your roof doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from them. Do you have a plot of land away from your main residence? Does someone else in your community have a piece of property they want to use to fight climate change? Put on your community organizer hat and get your neighbors together!

Namaste Solar is always looking for new land for community solar development. If you have more than 10 acres of relatively flat, unshaded land that you want to put to work for your community and for the environment, you may be able to earn passive income from a long-term community solar lease agreement. You can reach out to us by filling out this short form.

Make Solar Work for You

There’s no denying that clean energy is the future. We’re here to help you figure out what role you can play in creating a more sustainable future and to answer any questions you may have. Installing solar panels on your home is the best way to capture the savings of solar and to guarantee that you’re using clean energy. But if it just isn’t an option, you do have other choices.

Reach out to us to talk through your options. Our home solar advisors don’t work on commission, so we’ll be honest with you. We’d never advise you to do something we wouldn’t recommend to our own friends and family. Request a free home solar quote here.

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