Colorado Integrates Solar Into Low-Income Weatherization Program

The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Energy Resource Center (ERC) and Colorado Springs Utilities have announced the installation of a 2 kW rooftop solar array as part of the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which provides free energy-efficiency measures to income-eligible households in all of the state’s 64 counties.

The CEO was recently authorized to integrate rooftop solar into weatherization services under the WAP. The agency says this project will demonstrate the feasibility of combining energy-efficiency measures with rooftop solar offerings to help reduce utility bills for residents most in need – those paying more than 4% of household income on energy costs.

“The impact of this project is threefold: it addresses energy burden by reducing both home heating and electric costs; it enhances opportunities for distributed generation; and it demonstrates the viability of rooftop solar offerings for low-income households,” explains Joseph Pereira, the CEO’s director of low-Income energy services for the CEO.

According to the CEO, ERC is the first weatherization agency in the state to pilot the installation of rooftop panels as part of its site-specific weatherization services. In addition to rooftop solar panels, the project home will receive insulation, storm windows, low-flow showerheads, LED bulbs and a refrigerator. These integrated measures will save an estimated $600 annually in energy costs, the CEO adds.

“This family has struggled to pay high energy bills due to low household income,” notes Howard Brooks, executive director of ERC. “These improvements to their home are a game-changer; it allows the family to be safer, more comfortable, and more able to afford other necessities.”

Colorado Springs Utilities is also a key partner in the development and implementation of the project.

“In support of our Energy Vision, we are constantly exploring affordable energy-efficiency and renewable energy options for our customers,” says Kenny Romero, demand side management and renewable energy manager at Colorado Springs Utilities. “In addition to our rooftop solar rebate program and large-scale renewable energy sources, projects such as this one will help us achieve our 20 percent renewable energy goal by 2020, diversify our energy supply, and responsibly manage our operations to help protect our natural resources now and into the future.”

All measures, including installation of the rooftop solar array, were completed last week. The solar panels were installed by El Paso Green Energies, a family-owned and -operated contractor specializing in commercial and residential PV solar.


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