Sen. Bennet gets busy installing solar panels with GRID Alternatives



AURORA | Manual Ortiz-Galvan is slated to spend around $500 less on electricity for his home now, thanks in part to Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

The senator put on a hardhat and climbed onto the roof to help install the solar panels on the home Friday morning with GRID Alternatives, a non-profit organization that helps low-income homeowners access renewable energy. Ortiz-Galavan is having a total of 12 solar panels installed on the home, which will generate 4,538 kWh each year.

Bennet helped the installers with GRID Alternatives place the panels. The project was part of a partnership among GRID, Xcel Energy, Adams and Arapahoe Counties, the Colorado Energy Office and US Department of Energy.

Arapahoe County Weatherization also replaced the furnace, which Xcel Energy had shut down due to safety concerns. The home now has a new 95 percent energy efficiency furnance. The county also installed two carbon monoxide detectors, sealed air leaks and put a hardcover on the swamp cooler, which reduces air filtration in the home by 42 percent.

While not a regular day for Bennet, the installation does align with some of his policies. He helped create a pilot program that provides transitioning service members with training for jobs in the clean energy and electric grid and cyber security industries.

GRID Alternatives also trains interns, volunteers and has worked with Wells Fargo on a national “Troops to Solar” initiative, which provides workforce training to military veterans across the country.  

A spokesperson for Bennet’s office said last week that he introduced a bill on Rebuilding Resilient Energy Systems, which would allow Stafford Act funding to be used to build and rebuild more resilient and efficient energy systems after a disaster.

GRID has installed 5.4 megawatts of solar electric power for nearly 350 homes in Colorado — which equates to $5 million in savings and prevents 172,286 tons of CO2 emissions.