Local generation is of the term for electric power that is produced close to where that energy will be used. The primary sources of local generation are solar panels and hydroelectric facilities. Local renewable generation is measured in megawatts (MW) of capacity.
To reach 50 MW of local generation of electricity through renewable energy sources by 2020, 100 MW by 2030 and 175 MW by 2050. These targets provide guideposts to maximize the local benefits of the transition to 100% renewable electricity and contribute to community resilience planning.
Local renewable generation delivers emissions-free electricity, provides predictable electricity prices to users, creates opportunities for equity and can enhance resilience when paired with battery storage.
Emissions-free Electricity: Solar energy is an abundant, emissions-free resource in Boulder and across Colorado. Capturing as much solar energy as possible is essential to meeting Climate Commitment goals and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Predictable electricity prices: Local generation can secure predictable and affordable electricity by protecting consumers from the unstable costs of energy generated from fossil fuels.
Accessibility: Local renewable generation systems provide opportunities for all of us to participate. Residents and businesses can add solar installations on-site, while solar gardens can be a great option for those that are unable to add installations because of things like rental restrictions or excessive shade.
Resilience: Local renewable generation systems can incorporate on-site energy storage, which provides a backup energy source when things like sunlight or waterflow are intermittent. This means that facilities can continue operation even while disconnected from the central electric grid. This technology can help critical community facilities – like schools and hospitals – continue to provide services during heavy storms, power outages and other service interrupting events.
In 2018, Boulder reached 54 MW of local renewable generation, achieving the 2020 target two years ahead of schedule. Even with this success, the city recognizes the significant efforts that will be required to reach 100 MW by 2030 and is committed to accelerating programs related to solar and electricity storage to achieve this goal.
This data is provided by the City of Boulder's Climate Initiatives Department. See our Solar webpage for more resources about our solar strategy, our solar grant program, and how to assess your own solar potential. This page will be updated bi-annually.