Front Range

Energy Buzz

Harnessing solar energy in new ways.

July 2012

Open space abounds in Colorado, and Carbondale’s Clean Energy Collective (CEC) is turning unusable swaths of that land into alternative power sources. The three-year-old company already broke new ground in the energy sector by developing large-scale solar facilities collectively owned by opt-in utility customers. The kicker: The arrays are placed on otherwise wasted pieces of land, such as idle runway tracts. This summer, CEC enters the Front Range with a solar garden near Windsor. 

The next major step could be landfills: CEC wants to top garbage heaps with solar panels. “It makes sense to look for compromised land that we can make productive again,” says founder Paul Spencer. “Landfills are a natural fit.” The company is only in the negotiation phase, but Colorado would be the first state to see this kind of community-owned solar repurposing—meaning your discarded wrappers could soon become more than just an eyesore.