Home solar panels with flowers in foreground.

Another satisfying win for solar: I (finally) got my HOA to go solar!

The garage units in Littleton, Colo. that will soon have solar panels on them.
These south facing garage units at Highline Crossing Cohousing Community in Littleton, Colo. will soon have solar panels on their roofs. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
editor's blog iconSo, after a year and half of working on it, I — along with several other hard working members of my HOA community here in Littleton, Colo. — have persuaded our neighbors to go solar!

I am so excited!! 🙂

On this beautiful May spring day — a perfect day for solar here in sunny Colorado — key members of our HOA signed a contract with Sopris Solar to install 19.6 kW worth of solar on our HOA community building and some of our garage units. The system will produce enough electricity to cover about 115 percent of our electric use in our HOA community house AND, perhaps more importantly, in our garages as well!

This means that after three and half years without being solar-charged, my 2017 Chevy Bolt will, come the end of July 2019, once again be solar-charged! Another resident here owns a 2016 Nissan LEAF, and his electric car will also be solar-charged.

In addition, a couple of other Highline Crossing neighbors have told me they are considering making their next car an electric car. So, within a couple of years we could have three, four, maybe even five solar-charged EVs in Highline Crossing Cohouising Community here in Littleton, Colo.!

[I have paid extra for Xcel Energy Windsource electricity across the past three and a half years, so, indirectly, I can say that my 2014 Nissan LEAF, and then my 2017 Chevy Bolt, have been “wind-charged”]

It was not an easy path to get our community to go solar. This although a clear majority of residents at Highline Crossing did want to go solar from the beginning. We have a governance process called “consensus minus three”. This means that out of about 35 households, all it takes is for three households to oppose a measure, such as going solar, and the measure fails.

It took a considerable amount of persuasion to ensure that there were fewer than three households opposed to installing solar here at Highline Crossing. Some of the stumbling blocks including concerns about “aesthestics” as well worries about using money from our HOA’s “long-term reserve fund” to pay for the solar — we are paying cash for the 19.6 kW system and using money from our long-term reserve funds to do so.

In fact, as I, and my fellow pro-solar neighbors noted, solar is an investment, not an expense, and, across the next 25 years, our HOA community will make a considerably better ROI (return on investment) by investing in solar for our own community than by investing the same amount of money from our long-term reserve fund in bank CDs.

As for the “aesthetics” argument: I, personally, LOVE the look of solar.

The Highline Crossing Cohousing Community Center that will soon have solar panels on it.
Our community center at Highline Crossing Cohousing in Littleton, Colo. will soon have solar panels on it. [Photo by Christof Demont-Heinrich]
When I see solar on our roofs, I know that I, and my neighbors, are reducing the number of coal train cars that roll by along the railroad tracks along Santa Fe Blvd. here in the Denver area just a mile from Highline Crossing. Those coal trains stretch for MILES along Santa Fe Blvd., with each train wagon brimming to the top with UGLY, toxic, filthy, carcinogenic and air polluting coal.

To me, coal, and coal trains, are far uglier than the 50-some beautiful, sleek, all-black Italian made solar panels that will be placed, symmetrically, across our HOA community center’s south facing roof area as well as across the south facing roof of one of our multi-unit garage blocks.

Annually, our system will produce about 25,000 kWh of clean, green locally-made electricity, thereby clearing up the air in the Denver area and reducing the amount of coal burned by Xcel Energy. Not by a lot, admittedly. But it is with each small baby step that positive change is made.

In 2010, I had a 5.5 kW solar system installed on our Aurora, Colo. home’s rooftop in a home I eventually had to sell in 2015 due to divorce. Now, aided by the super help of one incredibly motivated neighbor in particular, I have played a significant role in adding about 20 kW more of solar to the world. In addition, I am guessing that via 10 years of solar advocacy I have at least indirectly influenced the installation of 100s of additional kWs of solar.

So, on this gorgeous, cloudless, blue-sky day here in the Denver area, I am feeling very “sunshiney” about solar, the world, and about my own small, but important, contribution to growing solar and renewable energy here in Denver, in Colorado, in the United States, and around the world.

Indeed, nothing puts a smile on my face like more solar, and more solar-charged driving and drivers. How about you? 😉