The Department of Energy (DOE) recently allowed Colorado to use Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) funds to install rooftop solar on low-income homes, becoming the first state allowed to do so. Now, through a partnership of the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Energy Resource Center (ERC) and Colorado Springs Utilities, its made the first installation, a 2 kilowatt rooftop solar array on a home in Colorado Springs.
The demonstration home received various other energy efficiency measures designed to lower its occupants’ utility bills by roughly $600 a year. In addition to the solar panels installed by El Paso Green Energies the home received an energy efficient refrigerator, insulation, storm windows, low-flow showerheads and LED bulbs.
“This family has struggled to pay high energy bills due to low household income,” said Howard Brooks, executive director of ERC. “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.”
The CEO WAP offers free energy efficiency measures to income-eligible households throughout the state. In the past it was only able to support energy efficiency measures, but DOE has allowed it to integrate rooftop solar into its weatherization services to help low-income residents (those paying more than 4 percent of income on energy costs) reduce their utility bills.
“The impact of this project is threefold: it addresses energy burden 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, CEO’s director of Low-Income Energy Services. “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.”
“In addition to our rooftop solar rebate program and large-scale renewable energy sources, projects such as this one will help us achieve our 20 percent renewable energy goal by 2020, diversify our energy supply, and responsibly manage our operations to help protect our natural resources now and into the future,” said Colorado Springs Utilities’ Demand Side Management and Renewable Energy Manager Kenny Romero.Tweet