About Us


The Solar Friendly Communities initiative aims to encourage the expansion of solar energy by making it easier for citizens to install solar systems on their homes and businesses.


Our team is led by the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) and includes the cities of Denver, Fort Collins and Golden, Boulder County, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the American Solar Energy Society.


Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association


We are one of 22 Rooftop Solar Challenge teams in a program powered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. The Department of Energy seeks to reduce the cost of solar energy to become price competitive without subsidies by the end of the decade. It’s an ambitious goal with an important purpose: to encourage the spread of a locally powered, job-creating energy source that provides power and heat without pollution and has no fuel costs.


DOE Sunshot Program Aims to Cut “Soft Costs”


Solar energy systems are rapidly dropping in cost and thus becoming increasingly appealing to a broad range of citizens. Currently “soft’’ costs including permitting, installation, regulatory and other related costs account for up to 40 percent of a rooftop solar system. According to a recent report by SunRun, local permitting and inspection processes add about $2,500 to the cost of each residential system. Streamlining processes and bringing those costs down will bring down the cost of solar.


The requirements vary dramatically across Colorado’s more than 200 cities and towns, its 64 counties and its 65 utilities. In some places, it takes 20 days to get a permit for a standard residential solar system while in others, it takes only a day.


The Solar Friendly Communities “12 Steps: A Roadmap to a Solar Friendly Community” offers an easy way for communities to work on streamlining their processes and making solar permitting easier for both citizens and city or county staff. By working together, we can assist local governments to shave off extra time and cost while respecting each community’s unique needs.


Rebecca Cantwell, Executive Director


Rebecca Cantwell brings years of communications and policy leadership experience to her work on solar energy in Colorado.  She is the Executive Director for the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, the award-winning nonprofit that leads Colorado’s solar industry with nearly 200 solar businesses as members. Rebecca leads the team that created Solar Friendly Communities.


Rebecca also leads COSEIA’s efforts on Colorado’s Million Solar Roofs, a campaign to build awareness and support for the goal of increasing solar installations in Colorado to roughly 3 Gigawatts, or 10 times the current level, by 2030. Details at www.gosolarcolorado.org.

She is also involved in all phases of Colorado’s solar energy policy work and in communicating that policy to stakeholders and the general public. Download full bio