Arcadia embarks on Colorado community solar push

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Arcadia, a Washington, D.C.-based startup that connects subscribers to clean energy projects, has partnered with Pivot Energy to develop community solar projects for homeowners and renters within Xcel Energy’s service territory.

The area includes includes Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and parts of southern Colorado.

“This will make solar accessible to a larger segment of [Colorado’s] population,” said Joel Gamoran, general manager for community solar at Arcadia.

In December, Arcadia raised $30 million in Series C funding and announced plans to double its community solar reach to eight states this year. Funding was led by G2VP with participation from new investors Macquarie Group and Seek Ventures, along with existing investors Mitsui USA, Energy Impact Partners, BoxGroup, and ValueAct Spring Fund.

The first set of Arcadia and Pivot Energy’s community solar efforts will include two projects built on underutilized agricultural land in Weld County and two in Logan County, Gamoran said, adding that one of the Logan County projects will be developed on land that benefits the state’s school trust. All of these projects are expected to come online this winter.

Last year, Cape Analytics found that, of the 38 million homes that it analyzed in the United States, 1.8% had solar panels. Denver ranked as the 8th most popular solar city in the US.

“Community solar can, and should, be easy to access for everyone in the state of Colorado,” Kiran Bhatraju, Arcadia’s CEO said.

Arcadia estimates that rooftop solar is not an option for about 66% of American households because many Americans live in multi-family homes, have homes located in shaded areas or have a roof that is unsuitable for rooftop solar. If that’s not enough, Americans efforts to secure clean energy are sometimes hampered by low credit scores or the need for upfront payments, Gamoran said, noting that Arcadia’s platform does not rely on credit scores or upfront payments.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a substantial fraction of the national rooftop solar potential is located on low- and moderate-income buildings and, for all incomes, a substantial fraction is located on multi-family and renter-occupied buildings.

“The popularity of community solar is quickly growing as more residents realize how simple it is to sign up and start saving money,” Tom Hunt, Pivot Energy’s CEO said.

In Colorado, community solar options expanded last May with the passage of the Community Solar Garden Modernization Act. Under the state’s new community solar rules, the maximum project sizes increased from 2 MW to 5 MW and subscribers to community solar projects no longer need to live in the same county, or in a county adjacent to, their project.