November 7, 2019
Boulder County subscribes to planned solar garden
Jack's Solar Garden is set to be the largest commercial agrivoltatics system in the U.S.
Boulder County, Colo. -- Boulder County became the largest subscriber to date in Jack’s Solar Garden, a 1.2 megawatt solar garden in Longmont planned for construction in 2020, when the Board of County Commissioners approved the contract for Jack’s Solar Garden at a Business Meeting on Nov. 5.
Jack’s Solar Garden is a first of its kind family-owned solar farm making more than just renewable energy. Jack’s is set to become the largest commercial agrivoltatics system in the U.S. partnering with the National Renewable Energy Lab, Colorado State University, and the University of Arizona to study what crop grow best underneath and around the future solar array. Produce grown within the solar garden distributed into the community as a community supported agriculture (CSA) is established.
The Audubon Society of the Rockies is also partnering with Jack’s Solar Garden to establish their largest bird habitat here in Colorado around the perimeter of the solar array. Jack’s Solar Garden is a participant in Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Community program enabling Jack’s to provide electricity subscriptions to residents, businesses, and government entities.
In the effort to reach an internal goal of achieving 100% electricity from renewable sources, Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate, and Resilience began collaborating with the founder of Jack’s Solar Garden, Byron Kominek, in 2017 to see what was possible on his farmland. In November 2018, the county updated the Boulder County Land Use Code to enable community solar gardens to be built on lands of National and State Agricultural Significance, which make up the majority of non-urban county land. In June 2019, Boulder County Commissioners voted to approve the Special Land Use Review of Jack’s Solar Garden, making this community solar garden the first to utilize the updated Land Use Code.
“Boulder County sees Jack’s Solar Garden as the kind of business that exemplifies the innovative, environmental, and social spirit of Boulder County, and we are thrilled to be a part of its launch,” said Susie Strife, Boulder County’s Sustainability Coordinator.
Kominek agrees, stating, “Jack’s Solar Garden is a family-owned business striving to provide social and environmental benefits back to our community and while becoming a national model for how agriculture and solar can co-exist on the same land.”
For more information about Boulder County’s sustainability and energy goals, view the Boulder County Environmental Sustainability Plan at www.boco.org/SustainabilityPlan or contact Susie Strife at firstname.lastname@example.org.