Going Solar and Energy Efficiency

Solar panels near Denver International Airport

Reducing your environmental impact, saving money, and supporting the growing green energy industry is getting easier every day, and Adams County endeavors to provide you the most up-to-date information about going solar and increasing your energy efficiency.

You can browse information on going solar for your home and your business, while solar contractors can use our E-Permit Center to submit applications electronically. The Office of Sustainability also has compiled a list of links to resources for county residents and businesses interested in going solar.

In July 2017, SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to help communities increase the use of solar power, awarded Adams County a gold designation as a national leader in advancing solar energy. The county is one of just 40 nationwide to receive the gold designation, the highest level awarded.

As always, please contact our Sustainability Office at [email protected] for more information or with any questions.

Solar Goals

  • The cost of solar has dropped dramatically since 2010. Adams County would like to lead by example and support our communities and businesses in going solar. In the Sustainable Adams County 2030 Plan, the county set a goal to reduce the amount of energy consumed from non-renewable sources by 25%. Furthermore, Adams County has committed to support policies and provide incentives to reduce energy consumed from non-renewable resources for residential and commercial buildings throughout the county.
  • In order to track Adams County’s sustainability goals and solar progress, it is important to establish a baseline. The most commonly utilized solar metric is the amount of installed solar (solar capacity) per capita. Research conducted by GreenTech Media and the Solar Energy Industries Association determined a community exhibits market leadership if their per capita installed capacity exceeds 99 watts/person. Since Adams County has three utilities (Xcel Energy, United Power CO-OP, and Intermountain Rural Electric CO-OP), estimating installed solar per capita is complex. However, utilizing  Xcel Energy’s Community Energy Reports and exploring United Power’s leadership in renewable energy information we can provide a conservative estimate. As of 2016, Adams County’s approximate solar installed per capita is 80 watts.

Reasons for going solar

  • The benefits of going solar are not only environmental, but solar also benefits our economy in the form of local jobs. The Solar Foundation reports that each megawatt of installed capacity, which can meet the electricity needs of 164 average U.S. homes, creates approximately 30 construction jobs for residential solar, 16 construction jobs for non-residential solar, and three jobs for utility-scale solar. Additional benefits include steep reductions to your electric bill, protecting against the rising costs of energy, an increase in your property value, and an increase in our energy independence.
  • There are a number of federal, state, local, and utility incentives available to homeowners and businesses pursuing solar. The largest incentive is the 30% federal tax credit that was recently extended through 2019; this incentive applies to both residential and commercial systems. Furthermore, the State of Colorado allows for net-metering, in which the utility credits your electric bill when your home or business produces more energy than it consumes. To learn more about local incentives, see the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE)