Hardly a day goes by anymore without hearing about community solar. And the projects and deals keep getting bigger.
Denver-based SunShare is one of the major players in the space and one of the first community solar providers in the country. This week, the company announced it has entered into one of the largest community solar deals in the country.
SunShare has contracted with Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District to provide Water World and its other district properties with 1.4 MW of clean, reliable energy from its Adams County Community Solar Garden. Water World has its own claim to community fame as the largest community-owned water park in the country.
“We are proud to be part of this Solar Garden with SunShare,” said Harlan Bryant, District Engineer for Hyland Hills Park & Recreation District. “It is a win, win, win situation. We’re helping Xcel Energy meet its renewable energy requirements; we’re helping SunShare, a Colorado company, create jobs here in Colorado; and the District is saving money on our electricity bills.” Water World just celebrated its 35th summer in Denver.
The decision was not just an environmental one but also an economic one. Hyland Hills will fix part of the district’s energy costs at today’s levels, protecting it from volatile grid power prices. The energy SunShare provides to the recreation district and Water World is the equivalent of powering over 300 homes for 20 years.
“We are really excited to partner with such a high profile customer like Water World,” said Jonathan Postal, Senior Vice President of SunShare. “They are now our largest subscriber in Colorado, and we believe them to be the biggest customer of any Community Solar Garden in the nation,” said Postal.
“I’ve been looking for more than four years for a way to incorporate solar energy here at Water World and throughout the District. The Solar Garden business model is the first one that has worked for our Agency,” said Bryant. “I hope this program is very successful, so the District can convert more of our electric consumption to solar production.”
Community Solar allows customers who either can’t or don’t want to put solar panels on their homes to buy solar energy from a solar array located elsewhere in the community.
Electricity generated by SunShare’s Solar Gardens is fed into the main power grid. SunShare’s customers buy a specific amount of energy from the solar garden and receive a credit on their Xcel Energy bill for that amount.
SunShare has over 11 MW of Community Solar Gardens built or under development in Colorado’s Front Range. SunShare has projects under way with Colorado Springs Utilities and Xcel Energy with the capacity to serve over 2,200 homes.