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  • City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools energize 309 kW Community Solar Garden at Northeast Early College
October 12, 2023

City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools energize 309 kW Community Solar Garden at Northeast Early College

Solar PV carport and EV charging, designed and delivered by McKinstry, boosts community resiliency and environmental equity for low-income households while decarbonizing Denver’s electricity supply

DENVER, CO — The City and County of Denver completed its latest community solar garden in partnership with Denver Public Schools at Northeast Early College High School. The 309 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) carport with electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is the latest array launched as part of 11 new community solar gardens within the Renewable Denver Community Solar Program.

Northeast Early College High School provides students of diverse abilities and backgrounds with equitable access to earn college credits towards an associate degree and experience career and technical education pathways. The high school was chosen for its location and opportunity to align solar PV technologies with educational curriculum.

“Denver Public Schools is an ideal partner for the city’s Renewable Denver Community Solar Program, connecting students with opportunities to boost long-term resiliency across Denver in unique ways that benefit all residents,” said Dr. Alex Marrero, Superintendent of Denver Public Schools. “The Northeast Early College High School array provides paid training opportunities for clean energy jobs, student internships and hands-on classroom activities while promoting zero-carbon energy generation for our communities.”

The community solar program increases community resiliency while addressing environmental equity in low-income communities. When complete, 45% of the generated electricity from the 11 arrays will support low-income households through Denver Public schools and the Denver Housing Authority. Denver Public Schools is working with Energy Outreach Colorado to connect low-income households with available solar energy. The result is expected to save participating families $700 a year on average.

“Denver is proud to partner with Denver Public Schools to energize a solar canopy at Northeast Early College High School,” said Elizabeth Babcock, Director of Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency. “This community solar garden is one of 12 community solar projects that will help Denver reach its goal of cutting carbon pollution while reducing energy bills for schools and DPS families.”

Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency (CASR) is working to rapidly and equitably transition the city to 100% renewable electricity by 2030. This $26 million investment in community solar gardens accelerates that shift, increasing equitable access to clean energy in Denver. The Renewable Denver Community Solar Program is one of the biggest investments to date of the Climate Protection Fund, an over $40 million annual fund dedicated to taking climate action. Once completed, these 11 community solar gardens will produce 9.6 million kWh per year, avoiding emissions equivalent to taking 1,000 cars off the road.

McKinstry, a long-time energy partner for both the City and County of Denver and Denver Public Schools, is designing and deploying each of the 11 community solar gardens. Once completed, these gardens will:

“McKinstry takes great pride in our efforts to support Denver in its equitable transition to a zero-carbon future while strengthening STEM education opportunities,” said Leslie Larocque, Senior Vice President at McKinstry. “The residents of our city have made it clear that community resiliency and environmental equity is essential to our future, paving the way for new partnerships to accelerate renewable energy as a force for positive change and fiscal responsibility.”

Learn more about Denver’s solar energy efforts, including solar rebate programs for Denver households and incentives for non-profits and public schools, atwww.denvergov.org/solar.

About Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency manages the city’s ambitious emission reduction goals and sustainability programs in collaboration with fellow departments, other units of government, and community partners. The office ensures that the city’s targets are aligned with current climate science, promotes the role that climate action and sustainability play in strengthening Denver’s economic vitality and a prosperous future for all residents and businesses, and embraces equity as a value and practice in all its work.

About the Denver Public Schools’ Climate Action Plan Denver Public Schools District No. 1 was created on February 28, 1903, with the consolidation of many smaller school districts in the area. Today, Denver Public Schools is the largest K-12 school district in the state of Colorado with more than 88,000 students and 200 schools.

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