By the end of the year, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was just two years ago, according to data released by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 megawatts of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 873 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a twentyfold increase over the 37 megawatt capacity in 2010.
Among the states where electric co-ops have been actively developing solar, Georgia ranks first with a total of 122 MW, followed by New Mexico, Hawaii, Colorado, Arizona, Maryland and North Carolina. In 2016, solar projects in Colorado were installed by the co-ops serving Grand Junction, Montrose, Cortez, Gunnison, Douglas County, Meeker, Fort Collins, Brighton, Ridgway, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs. Co-ops in northeastern Colorado are working together on a possible solar installation in 2017.