Arvada harnesses solar recognition

Sara Van Cleve
Posted

Arvada’s dedication to making solar energy more attainable and affordable has earned the city the designation of a “Solar Friendly Community.”

The city was recognized with a bronze level certification during the inaugural State of the City address April 19.

“It means that our local government has taken the right steps to give residents the choice to make solar energy their providers and made it easy to do that,” said Arvada interim sustainability coordinator Robert Wallace. “We’re proud to get this and excited to offer easy, affordable solar power to Arvada residents.”

The Solar Friendly Community program was developed by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association and is funded by a grant through the Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative.

“The goal is to work with communities to make solar energy more available and affordable to folks in your community,” said COSEIA executive director Edward Stern during the recognition on April 19. COSEIA uses 12 criteria to award points to cities that rank them as a level of a Solar Friendly Community. Arvada currently exhibited 725 of 1,600 points to earn bronze level certification, Stern said.

“Arvada has been working very hard to qualify as part of this program,” Stern said. “Specifically, the city is in the process of implementing electronic permitting for rooftop solar projects, which is expected to streamline the process substantially.”

Other criteria the city met include posting requirements, using a standard form, keeping track of solar installations and following best practices, Stern said.

“It is our hope to continue to work with Arvada in the process of accelerating that qualification,” Stern said.

Receiving a silver or gold certification is a long-term goal of the city, Wallace said. The city has issued more than 300 solar permits since 2007, Arvada communications manager Wendy Forbes said.

Arvada joins four other Colorado cities as a Solar Friendly Community — Denver, Aurora, Lakewood and Fort Collins. Depending on the size of the panels, installation of a solar panel in the Denver area can range from $5,000 to $12,000.