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  • Energy Efficiency
  • Solar Home
  • Energy Future
  • Climate Commitment
  • Water Conservation

Solar Grant Evaluation Criteria

Solar Grant Evaluation Criteria

Eligibility Requirements

Homeowners: please confirm your home is structurally suitable for rooftop solar installation and eligible for grid linkage prior to applying.

  • Solar (electric or thermal) systems installed on the following structures are eligible:
    • facilities of site-based nonprofit entities operating in Boulder; or
    • income-qualified housing that is owned and operated by a nonprofit in the City of Boulder; or
    • income-qualified individually owned housing units in the City of Boulder, determined by the following maximum income levels:

 Household Members  

 1 Person

 2 People

 3 People

 4 People

 5 People

 Maximum Gross Income*  






*Net income for self-employed people

  • Applicants intending to use other financing mechanisms as alternatives to purchasing and owning the system outright, such as leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs), will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Grant Amount

  • There is no maximum grant amount; however, no more than 50 percent of the total project cost after rebates, incentives and tax credits are subtracted will be awarded.
  • Grant amounts vary based on the amount of funding available. Funding is generated by sales and use tax on solar installations throughout the community. Total available funding is announced approximately one month before the application deadline.
  • In recent years, individual grants for residential buildings and nonprofits have ranged from $2,000 to $40,000.
  • Any tax consequences will be paid on the grant amount for the year received. Consult the IRS or your tax professional for details.

Grant Requirements

  • Grants will not be awarded for systems already installed or with construction in progress.
  • Grant money for each award will be dispersed after the system has been installed and the final installation invoice and passing inspection documentation has been submitted to the grant coordinator.
  • Award recipients are required to sign an agreement stating the terms of receiving the funds. This includes a performance reporting provision that also requires recipients to inform the city annually on the proper functioning and output of the system. See below for the reporting form and instructions.
  • Grants must be used within one year of the date of the agreement.
  • Barring unforeseeable circumstances, awarded grant amounts are final. If the system size, type or cost changes after the grant has been awarded, additional funding will not be available in most cases.

Application Requirements and Process

  • Homeowner applicants must be shown as the property owner of record based on a property search of The Boulder County Assessor's Office publicy searchable records. The property must also be the applicant's principal residence.
  • Fully completed application forms, including supporting documentation, will be accepted for approximately four weeks prior to the application deadline. 
  • Applications including more than one installation proposal are favored, but not required.
  • For homeowner applicants, two most recent federal tax returns reflecting Adjusted Gross Income(s) (AGI) and two months of recent income verification for all employed or retired household members are required to demonstrate income eligibility.
  • After the submission deadline, the grant coordinator will review applications for eligibility, completeness and clarity, contacting applicants with any questions.
  • The Solar Grant Committee (SGC) will meet 2-4 weeks after the close of the application cycle to review, discuss, select recipients and determine award amounts.
  • Within one week of the grant selection meeting, the grant coordinator will inform successful candidates of their awards by phone or email, then work with Climate Initiatives Department administrative support to execute Solar Grant Agreements with each awardee.
  • Note: Recipients are required to register as eligible payees for grant funds through the Finance Department prior to receiving payment. Instructions will be provided upon grant award notification.
  • Applicants that were not selected to receive awards will receive official declination letters via email.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria, and preference will be given to the most cost-effective systems. Preference will also be given to homeowner applicants who have utilized EnergySmart services. Please see EnergySmart Home Energy Advising for details.

  • Does the applicant show a demonstrated interest and investment in maximizing the energy efficiency of the building(s) that the solar installation will serve?
    • For existing buildings, this is demonstrated by an energy audit and a list of energy efficiency measures that have been installed.
    • For new buildings, this is demonstrated by the building's energy rating.
  • How efficient and cost effective is the system?
  • What is the projected effect on the building's energy costs?
  • How much of the total project cost will be funded by sources other than the City of Boulder Solar Grant?
    • A minimum of 50 percent of the project cost must come from other sources; a higher percentage is better. 
  • How does the proposed project increase public awareness of renewable energy, the City of Boulder Solar Grant and other Climate Initiatives Department programs?
  • Does the proposed project provide additional environmental, social or economic benefits for the community?

Performance Reporting

As required by the Solar Grant Agreement, recipients must annually report back to the city regarding their system's operation. This is accomplished by completing and submitting a Solar System Performance Reporting Form at the first and subsequent anniversaries of the system's installation for as long as the recipient owns the building.

Applications are not currently being accepted.