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City Council to Consider Lease Agreements That Would Bring 2.75 Megawatts of Solar to City Facilities

The proposed installations would require no up-front capital from the city and are expected to net $1.4 million in savings over 30 years.  

On April 16, the Boulder City Council will consider lease agreements that would add 2.75 megawatts of solar capacity to city-owned properties, increase the city’s total solar portfolio to 6.45 megawatts, and reduce the city organization’s emissions by 6%.

Under the proposed 20- to 30-year lease agreements, the city will lease the solar panel installation sites to a third-party owner, Unico Solar Investors, and purchase the solar output of the systems through separate Power Purchase Agreements. The site lease agreements leverage a third-party ownership model for solar whereby an investor can capitalize on federal tax benefits that are unavailable to the city. The city will receive the benefits through the purchase of solar power, without requiring up-front capital.

“We see local solar as key to our climate and resilience strategy,” said Senior Energy Project Manager Yael Gichon. “It’s important for the city to lead by example in this arena and the proposed collaborative purchasing process provides a model for other businesses and partners to bring solar energy to their organizations.”

The proposed solar installations, which the city hopes to complete by the end of 2019, support the city’s efforts to bring local renewable generation to the community and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation.

Planned Installations

  • 63rd Street Water Treatment Plant: 806 kW
  • 75th Street Water Resource Recovery Facility: 499 kW
  • Boulder Reservoir Visitor Center: 66 kW
  • East Boulder Community Center: 73 kW
  • Fire Station 1: 32 kW
  • Fire Station 5: 12 kW
  • Fire Station 7: 15 kW
  • Fire Station 8 and Fire Training Center: 141 kW
  • Iris Center: 40 kW
  • North Boulder Recreation Center: 120 kW
  • 15th and Pearl Parking Garage: 281 kW
  • Public Safety Building and Carport: 455 kW
  • 11th and Spruce Parking Garage: 218 kW

To select and design the solar installation sites, the city engaged in a collaborative purchasing process across city departments and employed a buyer’s agent to gain market expertise, procurement assistance, economies of scale and other economic benefits.

This item is on council’s consent agenda on April 16. The staff memo is available on the city’s website.

About the city’s Climate Commitment

Preserving the health and sustainability of our climate has been valued by the Boulder community for decades. Boulder’s Climate Commitment outlines the city’s areas of action: energy, resources and ecosystems and sets targets that include:

  • 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030
  • 80% City Organization Emissions Reduction by 2030
  • 100 MW of Local Renewable Generation by 2030
  • 80% Community Emissions Reduction by 2050

Learn more about the city’s Climate Commitment, targets and progress at

Published: April 12, 2019 

Media Contacts:

Emily Sandoval, Climate Initiatives, 303-441-1927