Solar Energy

IPS / Xanterra Travel

The Trail Ridge Store in Rocky Mountain National Park is now a little greener. As of July, the high-elevation gift shop is fully powered by a new solar array.

Rebecca Jacobson/Inside Energy

Colorado’s three-member Public Utilities Commission gave its approval on Monday to a proposed $2.5 billion investment in solar, wind and natural gas power in the state.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

Solar energy has had a great decade. One estimate puts the industry’s growth at 1,600-percent over the last eight years. However, this past year has not been so good, especially for rooftop solar companies. The market for residential solar systems has taken a hit, resulting in the bankruptcies of companies such as  SunEdison, Sungevity, Suniva and at least one company not starting with “sun” — SolarWorld.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

  For the poorest amongst us, paying every bill can be a struggle, including the power bill. Solar power hasn’t really been a go-to option for those at the bottom, but that’s starting to change. Colorado’s largest utility - Xcel energy -  recently announced an expansion of a program to provide solar energy to low income residents. Its part of a proposed settlement agreement with the state’s public utility commission.

U.S. Department of Energy

For the first time ever, Denver will host an international solar home building competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy. The 2017 Solar Decathlon will bring teams from 16 universities to show off model homes and compete for $2 million in prize money.

“Denver and the Colorado community really has demonstrated a leadership role in advancing clean energy technology,” said Jennifer Garson who directs DOE's Solar Decathlon.

Can Cover Crops Help Farmers Cut Back On Fertilizer?

Jan 18, 2016
Brian Seifferlein/Harvest Public Media) / Harvest Public Media

By some estimates, producing our food consumes about a fifth of the nation’s energy supply. It takes a lot of diesel to move tractors and semis around the farm, and electricity to pump water and dry grain. But some farmers are trying to cut back on the coal and gas they use and make our food system more energy efficient.

Rebecca Jacobson/Inside Energy

Major power outages have doubled every five years since 2000, which is something the U.S. military is taking seriously. They're helping to lead the way in the development of smaller and more secure grids – known as microgrids.

At Fort Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs, their grid project -- known as the Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security, or SPIDERS -- helps keep the lights on when the powers goes out, acts as a technology incubator and helps increase the base's energy security. This is the military after all.

John De La Rosa / National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Colorado’s renewable energy standard, a decision that has renewable energy advocates cheering.

The decision in Energy and Environment Legal Institute v. Epel is also encouraging news for other states with renewable energy standards, said environmental advocates. A number of lawsuits have been filed that challenge state-level renewable energy standards, but this is the first to be decided, said Erin Overturf, an attorney with Western Resource Advocates who worked on the case.

Poudre Valley REA

Just five years ago, as recession gripped the country, a tiny Colorado energy company, opened up its first solar project. Sited in the rural town of El Jebel, population less than 4,000, Clean Energy Collective's effort was called a community solar garden -- smaller than a solar farm, but big enough to power a neighborhood.

Now, Clean Energy Collective, which just cut the ribbon on a brand new solar garden in Fort Collins, is the fastest growing solar company in the country. Its founder and head Paul Spencer said its roots in the state's rural Roaring Fork Valley (it is now based in Louisville, outside Boulder) are what allowed it to try out a new energy model that is taking root across the country.

The solar energy business is growing fast, thanks in part to a steep drop in panel prices.

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