Colorado includes solar array into Weatherization Assistance Program for low-income households

Colorado solar array program

Colorado continues the progressive energy initiatives. Thanks to the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Energy Resource Center (ERC), and Colorado Springs Utilities, the state’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been updated to include the installation of a 2-kW rooftop solar array as part of the package. The CEO WAP provides free, cost-effective energy efficiency measures to income-eligible households in all of the state’s 64 counties.

Historically, the WAP has only allowed energy efficiency measures, but the Department of Energy recently authorized CEO to be the first state to integrate rooftop solar into weatherization services. This project with ERC and Colorado Springs Utilities will demonstrate the feasibility of combining energy efficiency measures with rooftop solar offerings to help reduce utility bills for residents most in need — those paying more than 4 percent of household income on energy costs.

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“The impact of this project is threefold: it addresses energy burdens by reducing both home heating and electric costs; it enhances opportunities for distributed generation; and it demonstrates the viability of rooftop solar offerings for low-income households,” said Joseph Pereira, Director of Low-Income Energy Services for the Colorado Energy Office. “We appreciate the Department of Energy’s receptiveness to this innovation in the program and the forward-thinking efforts of our partners at Energy Resource Center and Colorado Springs Utilities as we explore the best use of solar to assist those in need.”

CEO partners with eight local agencies throughout the state to provide WAP services including ERC, which serves the counties of Denver, Jefferson, Douglas, Elbert, Teller, El Paso, Fremont, Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla. ERC is the first weatherization agency in the state to pilot the installation of rooftop panels as part of its site-specific weatherization services. In addition to rooftop solar panels, the project home will receive insulation, storm windows, low-flow showerheads, LED bulbs and a refrigerator. These integrated measures will save an estimated $600 annually in energy costs.

“This family has struggled to pay high energy bills due to low household income,” said Howard Brooks, Executive Director of Energy Resource Center. “These improvements to their home are a game-changer; it allows the family to be safer, more comfortable, and more able to afford other necessities.”

 

— Solar Builder magazine

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