Carbondale receives ‘Solar Friendly Community’ certification
Post Independent staff
CARBONDALE — This town is the first on Colorado’s Western Slope to be formally recognized as a Solar Friendly Community, as certified by the Solar Friendly Communities program under the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to Lucy Emerson-Bell, outreach and programs coordinator for the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) in Carbondale, seven other communities on Colorado’s Front Range have been recognized, but Carbondale is the first to get the accolade west of the Continental Divide.
Carbondale joins Denver (city and county), as well as Aurora, Lakewood, Fort Collins, Arvada, Nederland and Boulder County in earning the designation, according to a prepared statement from the Solar Friendly Communities.
In order to receive the recognition, the town’s solar accomplishments were analyzed and cataloged by experts with the Rocky Mountain Institute, which is a participant in the program, and a California-based solar consulting and engineering company, Optony.
The town Board Of Trustees received a road sign and a plaque about the certification at the trustees’ regular meeting on July 23.
“Carbondale is honored to receive recognition for our efforts in promoting energy generation through solar,” said Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot. “We have worked hard to incentivize and promote carbon-reducing measures such as solar through our programs and codes. Our strong local solar businesses allow our citizens to accomplish sustainable projects that benefit the individual, our town and beyond. Carbondale will continue to be a leader in renewable energy and leave a lasting legacy for the next generation.”
Solar Friendly Communities, according to a statement outlining the organization’s mission, is in the business of supporting code reforms in the area of permits for solar facilities, inspection of such facilities and financing for solar projects, as part of the DOE’s “SunShot” initiative, as a way of driving down the costs of switching to solar energy.
“Right now, it’s just a Colorado program,” said Rebecca Cantwell of Solar Friendly Communities.
She explained that the program began last fall, and added, “Now that we’re certifying Carbondale, we’re hoping to have more Western Slope participation,” by solar energy companies as well as communities interested in switching to alternative energy applications.
Aside from the plaque and road sign, she said, communities recognized by the Solar Friendly group are eligible for discounts of up to $500 on solar installations by any of 15 solar firms from around the state.
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