Apr. 17—Boulder now has 2.1 megawatts of rooftop- and ground-installed solar in a project expected to generate some $1.5 million in cumulative savings for the city over the next 30 years.
Through the Generation Solar project — part of Boulder's 2016 climate commitment — solar was installed on 11 city-owned sites, including parking garages, fire stations and land adjacent to the city's Wastewater Resource Recovery Center.
The work required no upfront capital or ongoing maintenance costs for Boulder, as it was completed through an agreement between Boulder, Madison Energy Investments and Unico Solar. Unico Solar leased nearly 363,000 square feet of city-owned rooftop and ground area at sites across the city. Boulder-based Namaste Solar designed and built the solar energy projects.
According to a news release from the city, the entire portfolio is expected to generate 80 million kilowatts over 20 years, which "demonstrated progress toward the city of Boulder's goals to operate on 100% renewable energy by 2030."
"We take climate change very seriously in Boulder, which is why our City Council declared it an emergency in 2019. In addition to fighting climate change, projects like this one also demonstrate the value of local generation, which can boost our local economy and reduce costs to taxpayers," Energy Project Manager Yael Gichon stated in a news release. "It's a win on all fronts."
Boulder views the fact that it purchased the power produced by the solar installations through separate purchase agreements as a way to provide the municipal buildings using the power greater control and flexibility.
The city now has a total solar portfolio of 6.45 megawatts.
For Unico Solar Investors, a subsidiary of an investment group that develops, owns and operates solar energy systems for its own real estate portfolio and for third-party clients, it's exciting to complete the years-long effort.
"As a real estate investor with a long history of leadership in sustainability, Unico is uniquely aware of the impact commercial buildings have on climate change, and municipal buildings in particular are uniquely situated to help scale the use of solar as cities seek to advance their renewable energy goals," Adam Knoff, director and co-founder of Unico Solar, stated in the release.