Today, the founders of the Solar Thermal Alliance of Colorado launched the Colorado Solar Thermal Roadmap. I was honored to have been a part of the working group behind this endeavor.
The Roadmap examines the state of solar thermal technology, as well as it’s deployment today internationally, across the U.S., and in Colorado. Colorado’s case is particularly interesting: due to our daily large temperature swings, cold ground water and bright sunny days, solar thermal heating applications work better in Colorado than any where else in North America (see map on page 1 of the Roadmap).
Despite this inordinate natural advantage, Colorado has failed to include solar thermal technologies in its renewable energy standard (RES), demand-side management (DSM) regulations and virtually every other policy that would encourage a stable and growing industry.
The Roadmap addresses these and other barriers to solar thermal industry growth within the state. Using a conservative but consistently positive model of growth, it projects that we could reach almost 2,500 MW thermal equivalent capacity in Colorado by 2030 (up from 150 MW in 2010), and over 16,000 MW by 2050. The commensurate revenue growth and job creation—up to over 24,000 jobs from industry growth by 2050—are modeled. And, the model does all of this while assuming that solar thermal technologies capture only a fraction of the market share that they are technically capable of seizing.
If you are interested in how a renewable energy industry could grow steadily and stably to great economic advantage to Colorado, please check out the Roadmap. And, you might want to pop into the panel presenting the Roadmap at Solar Power Colorado 2012 on February 9th in Loveland, CO. I’m grateful to be on that panel and a part of an effort to map our way forward: positively and economically.