Colorado ranks 13th nationally for solar power generation

Matt Whittaker

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An installation at the Solar Technology Acceleration Center in Aurora.U.S. Department of Energy / Flickr

By Matt Whittaker / NewsBreak Denver

(Across Colorado) Colorado added 32 megawatts of solar generation capacity in the second quarter of this year, bringing the percentage of the state’s electricity from solar to nearly 6%, according to numbers from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Total installed solar capacity rose to 2,268 megawatts in the second quarter from 2,236 during the year's first three months. That’s enough solar to power more than 440,000 homes, up from less than 430,000 the prior quarter, and ranks Colorado 13th in the nation for installed solar capacity.

The additional installations brought the percentage of the state’s electricity that comes from solar generation to 5.95%, up from about 5% in the previous quarter. The state has more than 100,000 solar installations.

“Colorado, with over 300 sunny days per year, has tremendous solar potential and was one of the first states in the U.S. to have a renewable energy standard,” the association says on its website. “There are multiple solar programs in Colorado for rooftop solar, community solar and utility-scale solar.”

With 7,426 people in the solar industry, Colorado ranked seventh nationally for solar jobs last year.  That year, the solar industry invested $710 million in Colorado, bringing the investment total to $5 billion.

The association forecasts the state will add 3,946 megawatts of solar capacity over the next five years. 

Solar development is expanding in the state as Colorado works to lower the state’s 2025 emissions by at least 26 percent, 2030 emissions by at least 50 percent and 2050 emissions by at least 90 percent from 2005 levels.

Boulder County is considering revising its land use code to make installing solar panels on rural properties easier. And Pueblo boasts the world’s first steel mill to run almost entirely on solar energy. 

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Matt Whittaker writes about natural resources industries, including oil and gas, mining, renewable energy, agriculture and cannabis. He's been based in the Denver metro area since 2013. You can follow him on Twitter @mattswhittaker.

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