Solar Forward wrapped up 2019 celebrating a year with over 1 MW of new installations across Colorado, and we’re moving into 2020 with exciting new goals and partnerships. Here are some of our program highlights from 2019, and a look ahead into 2020.
2019 was a big year for Solar Forward. We partnered with three counties: Gunnison, Montrose and Summit. The results of new installs in these regions yielding nearly 1 MW of installed solar, and created nearly a dozen new jobs. Results spanned beyond the numbers as participating counties saw even more benefits to introducing solar into the local conversation. The City of Gunnison adopted more favorable residential net metering policies opening up the market for future development, and municipalities of Summit County offered additional incentives for PV through the campaign.
The local impact:
Local Gunnison County installer Lena Wilensky shared the positive impact that Solar Forward had on her business and the local solar market.
“Before the Solar Forward Program, there seemed to be modest interest in solar installations, but mostly from people either building new homes, or people buying homes who had solar installations on their prior homes,” Lena explained. “ I think many people who had lived here for a while thought that solar would be out of their budgets and not worth exploring.”
The impact of the program, especially the educational component, already appears to be having a sustainable impact. “The Solar Forward program made people come out and actually inquire about solar installations, and I think made solar seem more accessible. The excitement was somewhat contagious, and even people who we had talked with about solar a few years back came out and decided it was now time to buy a system! Now it seems like more and more people are at least inquiring about solar, and a lot of them are finding out it is a good choice for them,” Lena said.
Read her full story on our blog.
We’re continuing our 2019 momentum and updating our offerings to provide even more insight unique to SEI’s industry leading expertise. Here are just some of our goals for 2020.
A focus on quality, the SEI way:
SEI is an industry leader in solar energy training and workforce development. We strive to leverage our expertise in the toolkit and consulting that we offer community partners. With the solar market growing faster than ever, unfortunately, potential solar customers may be the target of scams or other less-than-ideal business practices. In 2020, our focus is on quality and standards.
We’ve revamped our exclusive presentation video that covers solar energy basics and provides training on how to understand basic solar business, sales and installation companies. We’ve coupled this with updated documentation which reflects the necessary standards of best practice in installer qualifications.
Additionally, we’re bringing in SEI Professional Services this year to provide quality and standards inspections of solar systems in our partnered communities to ensure a solar market that sustains.
As always, we offer free SEI training for our partners, including our PV101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct).
Expanding our rural reach:
We’re broadening our impact this year with a focus on rural and transitioning coal mining communities. From our roots in Delta County, we’ve seen first-hand the resilience that a solar market can bring.
Interested in participating?
For more information on how your community can participate in Solar Forward, please email the Program Manager Mary Marshall at [email protected], or check out the full webpage. If you are ready to participate in this program, click the button below to fill out an application.