DENVER, Colorado (June 29, 2023)–The Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Solar and Storage Champion Awards.

For the third consecutive year, COSSA will recognize the individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the solar and storage energy industry at its annual Topgolf Networking Event on August 24, 2023.

“Solar panels and batteries are installed by over 9,000 workers across Colorado every day, but it could not be done without these lawmakers and community leaders, who play a pivotal role in our collective journey to decarbonize Colorado and beyond,” said Mike Kruger, President and CEO of COSSA. “Their relentless efforts and groundbreaking innovations have been the driving force behind the remarkable progress we have achieved towards a clean energy future.”

The rapid rise of renewable energy and battery storage has required a collective effort across the public and private sectors. In the tradition of celebrating solar and storage in Colorado, COSSA is thrilled to celebrate the following visionary leaders as the 2023 Solar and Storage Champions:

HB23-1234 (i.e. SolarApp+ Grant Funding)

Senators Dylan Roberts and Perry Will
Representatives Kyle Brown and Matt Soper 

These four legislators know a good idea when they see one and how to work together to bring that idea to life. The bill sponsors from both parties were also able to rally resounding bipartisan support. HB23-1234 makes it easier for homeowners to put solar on their roof and allows local authorities to reduce red tape. 

Starting later this year, communities will be able to receive a grant from the Colorado Energy Office to streamline their permitting, allowing rooftop solar permits to be issued immediately without compromising safety. With many competing priorities at the Capitol, these leaders convinced their fellow lawmakers that the SolarAPP+ was something the entire state should support. Coloradans will benefit with cleaner energy and lower costs due to the hard work and leadership of Senators Roberts and Will, and Representatives Brown and Soper.

SolarAPP+ Implementation 

Eric Browning – Chief Building Official, City and County of Denver
Carol Pafford –  Electrical Engineer/Architect Supervisor, City and County of Denver

The City and County of Denver has demonstrated great leadership by being the first municipality in Colorado to adopt the SolarAPP+, even prior to HB-1234 passing the Colorado Legislature. It is never easy to be the first mover, but Browning and Pafford persisted and were able to get the system up and running to ensure Denver homeowners can have a faster and more predictable solar permitting experience. 

Not only are these two responsible for pioneering the initial rollout of SolarAPP+ in Colorado, but their work will also ensure homeowners save time and money while investing in helping the City meet its clean energy goals.

Modeling and Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Reductions

Sarah Ruen – Regulatory Manager at Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association 
Lisa Tiffin – VP Planning & Analytics, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

As the world drives toward a cleaner energy future, accounting for greenhouse gas emissions is an emerging art and science. Tiffin and Ruen have been at the forefront of this by working through how Tri-State’s multi-state generation fleet and customers can accurately account for, and lower, their greenhouse gas emissions. This groundbreaking research will set the stage for Colorado’s entrance into a regional wholesale market and establish the framework for other utilities to track greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable Energy Vision and Planning

Tim Redmond – Routt County Commissioner
Alan Goldich – Routt County Senior Planner

It is never easy to lead a community through change, but Redmond and Goldich are stepping up to the challenge. With the pending closure of local coal mines and coal generation facilities, Routt County knows that the future will be different than the past. In working with local community members and the solar industry, Routt County is creating a landscape to encourage responsible solar and storage development to benefit the community for future generations. 

In addition to maximizing the community and economic benefits of solar in Routt County, these two leaders are providing a replicable community engagement strategy for large-scale solar development as we continue our journey toward 100% carbon-free energy. 

Renewable Energy Vision and Planning

Richard Hubler – Land Use & Building Director, Alamosa County

The democratic process is built upon individual citizens showing up and advocating for their interests and that includes planning for a clean energy future. Hubler attended multiple SolarAPP+ hearings this legislative session to share how this new program would make residential solar easier for his constituents and lower costs and burden on his overworked staff. 

His forward-thinking approach to renewable energy has an immediate positive impact by simplifying permitting and removing one of the most significant barriers to adopting on-site solar.   

These Solar and Storage Champions will be celebrated during the 2023 Topgolf Networking Event on August 24, 2023 at Topgolf in Thornton, Colorado. Representatives from all of the award winners will be on hand to receive the awards and offer short remarks.

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COSSA is the state trade association representing over 290 solar and storage businesses in Colorado. COSSA’s members provide solar and energy storage products and services to residential consumers, commercial businesses, utilities, and governmental entities throughout the state. For more information, please contact COSSA Communications Director Mac Scott.

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