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And there’s still plenty of roof space for more panels


A new report, rooftop Solar on the Rise, finds that Colorado got 2.6 times more energy from small-scale solar in 2022 than it did 5 years prior. The state ranked 11th nationally in gain of rooftop solar during that time span, according to Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center.

Included in small-scale were:

  • residential solar, which grew 217%;
  • small-scale commercial, 62%

Altogether, small-scale solar in Colorado generated 1,372 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2022.

Much more is possible. The report found that Colorado has tapped less than 1% of its rooftop solar generation potential.

CoPIRG, the public advocacy group, promotes the use of an online solar permitting platform called SolarAPP+, which was developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Use of that application can save time.

Photon Brothers, which has offices in Westminster, Centennial, and Colorado Springs, testified about the time-savings of the program.

“Nobody wants their project slowed down – not the customer and not the crew. In Denver, any minor change to the project used to require re-submitting the permit and restarting the whole review process,” said Mike Wagner, the permit coordinator for the company, which has 300 employees in Colorado. “With SolarAPP+, we are able to make some changes and get a new permit within 30 minutes.”

Denver was among 12 cities selected to pilot Solar APP+ during 2022. About 70% of the 3,738 solar applications were processed that year, saving more than 1,200 hours of review time, according to the City of Denver.

Now, the Colorado Energy Office is offering $1 million in grant funding for local and tribal governments across Colorado to adopt SolarAPP+ or other automated permit processing technology.

Allen Best
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