Golden Says “Yes” to Solar Initiatives
With 81% of the vote, Golden voters also passed solar question 2A with 4,140 votes in favor and 929 against. The initiative authorizes City Council to contact the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners and discuss revision of the City’s lease on the Rooney Road Sports Complex property to allow the use of up to 15 acres of undeveloped property for future renewable energy facilities.
Now, the most frequently asked question is “How soon can I sign up for a solar energy subscription?” In reality, we are many months to several years away from a viable solar project, where residents and businesses could subscribe to the energy produced by a solar garden. In the coming months, staff will research financial feasibility, engineering requirements, and invite Jefferson County representatives to discuss potential lease amendments.
More Golden residents voted on the solar question than in all four Ward elections combined, sending a clear message that a community solar project is an important step in reaching Golden’s renewable energy goals.
Interested in Private Solar?
Over the last ten years, solar system prices have decreased and panel efficiency has increased making it more affordable than ever to install solar on residential homes. The federal tax credits, state tax exemptions, city rebates, and the benefit of net metering may have you considering whether solar is the right choice for your Golden home. For more information on residential arrays check out the Solar Resources page.
This aerial photo shows the boundaries of the Rooney Road Sports Complex. The area is currently leased from Jefferson County and is designated for recreational use and houses a number of athletic fields. The County is open to discussing a modification to the lease agreement for the Rooney Road Sports Complex to expand the allowable land uses to include a renewable energy facility.
Potential Community Solar Garden Sites
CSM’s 2018 senior design class surveyed the site next to Rooney Road Sports Complex for feasibility as a community solar garden. This aerial footage was created for illustrative purposes only, no project is planned at this time.
A second CSM senior design class surveyed the historic Brickyard House on Catamount Drive for feasibility as a net zero building or possible community solar garden. The students were able to design a 54 solar panel array that would produce 32,300 kWh or almost 120% of the Brickyard House maximum energy use estimate. With this design, the Brickyard House would be net-zero, and capable of selling power back to the grid for most of the year.
The group also designed a 200 panel array capable of serving as a community solar garden for historic buildings where solar arrays might not otherwise be practical. This array of producing 120,500 kWh or 95% of the historic building estimated energy load within the City.
The intermediate report was completed in March of 2021 for research purposes only. While the Golden Landmarks Association (GLA) is in the midst of renovating the building, no solar projects are planned at this time.
A third CSM senior design class recently surveyed an 80 acre parcel of land just north of Golden off of Highway 93 for feasibility as a community solar garden. While the land is currently under active grazing by cattle, the City currently holds a two year planning lease for the parcel from the State of Colorado with the intent to research solar production. The students analyzed the usable space within the 80 acre property and designed a 20,000 solar module array capable of producing 19.5 Gwh or roughly 8.25% of Golden’s total energy consumption. The final report was completed in April of 2021 for research purposes only. No project is planned at this time.