AP NEWS

Boulder County, City Incentives Aim to Make Going Solar Simple

March 26, 2019

If you go

What: Commercial solar workshop presented by PACE

When: 10 a.m. to noon Monday

Where: Boulder Commons, 2440 Junction Place, Boulder

Cost: Free

Register: bit.ly/2OsTssv

Boulder and Boulder County are aiming to help residents and businesses go solar through multiple incentive programs.

Businesses, nonprofits, and organizations with commercial electric, gas or water meters are eligible for rebates through a $400,000 program offered by Partners for a Clean Environment, or PACE. Eligible entities can receive rebates of $1 per watt installed, up to $15,000, on a first -come, first-served basis.

The program is funded by Boulder County and the city of Boulder, said Zac Swank, PACE business sustainability coordinator.

“There is $330,000 available to businesses and nonprofits in the city of Boulder and $70,000 available to businesses and nonprofits elsewhere in the county,” Swank said.

Boulder organizations are eligible for the larger pool of funding, because of the additional funds Boulder contributes from its Climate Action Plan tax toward rebates, he said.

A workshop covering the program, as well as the basics of commercial solar, financing and permitting will be from 10 a.m. to noon Monday at Boulder Commons.

Boulder also runs a a solar grant program to provide financial assistance to nonprofits and income-qualified homeowners to install solar electric or solar thermal (hot water) systems. The grants cover up to 50 percent of out-of-pocket costs, said Sandy Briggs, solar grant program coordinator.

Boulder also offers a rebate of about 15 percent of city sales and use tax paid on materials and permits for installation . That rebate is offered through the city’s Finance Department, Briggs said. To be eligible, taxpayers must file a rebate application within 12 months of the city’s final inspection.

Boulder’s solar grant program, which offers more than $100,000, is one of many city initiatives that support the city’s goal of reaching 100 megawatts of local renewable energy by 2030.

Since 2008, the program has funded nearly $650,000 in solar installation for nonprofits and homeowners.

The deadline to apply for Boulder’s grant program is April 30.

For more information, visit bit.ly/2U2Pe02 .

In 2018, PACE supported 12 projects (with an average rebate of $12,000), which led to cost savings of $60,000 annually for recipients, Swank said. The projects reduced greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 115 passenger cars off the road, he said.

The rebate program ties in with Boulder County’s Environmental Sustainability Plan that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission 45 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.

Last year, Trinity Lutheran Church, 2200 Broadway in Boulder, received a PACE rebate and a city grant for its construction project, an important part of which was the creation of affordable housing for seniors at the corner of Mapleton Avenue and Broadway.

The solar system installation cost was $80,000, but the rebate and grant program helped the church save $27,000, said Melanie Nehls Burow, coordinator of congregational life and the project manager.

“It made the project very viable,” she said.

Pratik Joshi: 303-684-5310, pjoshi@dailycamera.com