City council approves SunShare initiative

The Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved regulations Tuesday that will allow a local start-up to build a community solar garden.

Several community members showed up to voice their support for the initiative that will allow Colorado Springs Utilities customers to lease solar panels in a remote community solar garden and collect the credits for the energy they produce on their utility bills.

“The council people were starting to laugh, because people just kept coming up to talk,” said SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski.

Those who spoke in favor of the initiative included students, community members, representatives from the Catamount Institute and state representative Pete Lee.

Amster-Olszewski said he was not surprised the council approved the regulations.

“I was surprised we got 9-0 with no resistance,” he said. “Nobody could have imagined that.”

Amster-Olszewski said SunShare expects to be able to announce the location of its solar garden within the next week. He has taken reservations for 250 panels so far and hopes to sign leases for 2,000 total.

A 20-year lease costs $550 per panel with a two-panel minimum. Two panels are estimated to generate enough power to cover 10 percent of the average Colorado Springs utility bill.

The start-up will host an information session and celebration at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub at 21 South Tejon Street at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday.

To read read more CSBJ coverage on SunShare, click here.