Private-sector dollars play a major role in getting solar projects built around the United States and across the world. When state and local governments put their money behind renewables, that public-sector investment is critical support as well.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) recently awarded $7.14 million in Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Funds (EIAF), with the majority of the grants going to regional solar projects.
According to DOLA, the department awarded the City of Steamboat Springs and its partners $2.1 million for solar installations at 13 local government facilities for several towns, cities, and counties. Eight of the projects will be ground-mounted arrays totaling 1.8 MW, while the remaining five will be rooftop systems.
The department also awarded the City of Craig $2 million in planning and implementation funds for a project adjacent to the Yampa Valley Electric Association. The community solar garden will allow regional partners to buy a power subscription from a third-party developer.
Furthermore, DOLA awarded the Aurora Campus Community a $780,000 grant for bus canopies fitted with solar panels.
The remaining round of EIAF grants went to broadband projects and other initiatives. According to DOLA, funding from the EIAF program is ongoing to help areas socially or economically affected by the development, processing, or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels.
As DOLA Executive Director Rick Garcia explained, “An important aspect of this program is to support communities feeling the impacts of the transition from coal.”
In 2020, DOLA awarded a total of $47.2 million through EIAF for 137 projects in communities across Colorado. That included $13 million for 22 Renewable and Clean Energy Initiative projects.
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