Got a shady roof? Don’t even own your roof (condo owners, that means you)? Live in a cold and dark canyon? Are you a little short on south-facing roof real estate?
All of these predicaments make it hard to take advantage of solar power. And in Colorado, if you can’t put PV panels on your own property — then you can’t have PV panels at all. (So, quit coveting thy neighbor’s sunny roof.)
That’s right. It’s actually illegal for you (as of now) to go in 50-50 with a neighbor on a solar array that won’t be installed on your property. If you put up solar panels next door, you can’t take advantage of the rebates and incentives offered by your utility (which is probably Xcel Energy if you live in Boulder County). But here’s the real kicker: you also can’t take advantage of net-metering, which means that the electricity you produce won’t show up as a credit on your bill.
A state lawmaker from Boulder is trying to change that. Read more
In the world of solar, it’s just not that sexy.
It doesn’t make electricity like photovoltaic panels. It doesn’t warm water like solar thermal. It can’t run a giant steam turbine like concentrating solar power.
It’s just a big metal wall that relies on a ridiculously simple principle to harness the sun’s warming rays, massively reducing the building’s heating bills. And it’s coming to Boulder.
You might ask, if this “solar wall” technology is so simple, why didn’t anyone think of it before? And you’d be right — because it was thought of before. Solar walls have been around since the early 1980s when the energy crises of the 70s spurred a first solar boom. But they fell out of favor when fossil fuels got cheap again.
But retro solar walls are cool again. And oddly, it may have taken Wal-Mart jumping on the solar wall bandwagon to resurrect the technology. The mega-retailer slapped solar walls on its new supercenter in Aurora a few years back, bringing attention to the elegant technology (which can pay for itself in half a dozen years without rebates, tax breaks or other incentives). Read more