Sun and shadows in the Springs 

Long Story Short

In September 2011, Colorado Springs City Council boldly adopted a 2-megawatt pilot program for solar gardens. A year and a half later, it upped the ante with a vote to expand the program to 10 megawatts. In the energy realm, the city suddenly was looking progressive and forward-thinking.

So you knew it couldn't last. And it didn't.

When a new Council took office this April, one of their first orders of business was to undo their predecessors' expansion of the pilot — even as elements of that very program popped up in other, more ambitious solar garden programs nationwide.

At its core, the reason was simple. Solar power still needs to be subsidized to be viable, and Council is philosophically opposed to subsidies. It doesn't matter if, as in this case, you're talking about the cost of one coffee drink per year for a residential customer.

More than anyone else, David Amster-Olszewski felt the sting of the new Council's decision. (Read his story starting here.) Young, idealistic, ambitious, he wanted to base what he hoped would become a billion-dollar company here. But the action would seem to be leading him, and SunShare, elsewhere.

That said, Amster-Olszewski will be here next week, when Council makes good on its promise to consider a scaled-down version of the solar program. At the end of Tuesday's meeting, we'll know: Will Council keep us in the game, even marginally? Or are we going to decide, in the end, to sit this one out?


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