10,000 Rooftop Solar Systems & Counting!
United Power recently hit a major milestone with its 10,000th member rooftop solar installation. The amount of potential generation from these panels is approximately 58.5 megawatts (MW), a significant part of the cooperative’s 600 MW peak.
The number is important for many reasons, especially when combined with the 175 batteries our members have installed, the nearly 6,000 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids being driven in our service territory, and 1,900 homes with controllable thermostats. Our members are taking actions to manage energy consumption and create electric power locally. This will be of increasing value for United Power as we transition to new power suppliers in May 2024 and as power markets come to the West in the next few years.
Colorado utilities, and United Power in particular, are ahead of the curve in energy transition. Approximately 4% of homes in the United States have solar systems, according to PV Magazine, compared to nearly 11% of United Power members. Interestingly, Colorado does not even make the top 10 states for solar penetration.
Of course other generation options are necessary to ensure resilience and reliability. United Power is blessed to have a footprint with abundant natural gas and wind resources which will continue to be a part of our generation mix. We are also helping our oil and gas members meet their own corporate goals through field electrification.
While other utilities are fretting — and sometimes fighting — over the impact on the distribution system, United Power has been planning for the future. We have increased wire sizing in new construction and are carefully watching how well our transformers are performing while we work toward becoming a distribution system operator (DSO). As a DSO, we can take advantage of investments our members make and share in the financial benefits. Our Cooperative Roadmap outlines this new energy future and how we are preparing and enacting changes to lead the way in this exciting frontier.
I recently had the honor of being interviewed for an Energy Central podcast “Shaping a Dynamic and Modern Power Delivery Landscape,” in which we discussed the exciting changes happening in the utility business. Click on the link to listen.
United Power has long led the way in energy innovation. The cooperative energized the first community solar farm in Colorado in 2009. In November 2018, we brought the largest battery storage facility in the state on line, a prestige it held until late last year. We added a smart thermostat program for load control and our EV charging program in 2022. This is all possible due to the amazing women and men at United Power, with support from the Board of Directors. You can hear more about our tremendous progress and our vision for the future at the Annual Meeting of Members on April 12. I hope you will join us.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me or anyone else on the executive leadership team any time with your questions, comments, or concerns.