Easy to Shine in Solar Friendly Longmont
Named after its overlooking mountain Longs Peak, the city of Longmont began as a planned community that flourished in agriculture thanks to the Colorado Central Railroad line. It then became a technology hub in the late 20th century as its once-thriving agriculture dwindled.
Today, Longmont has a population of approximately 90,000 who enjoy an above-average median income, low unemployment rate, and over 1,500 acres of parks and open space. Those factors, combined with numerous “best places to live” awards, made the city of Longmont adopt the tagline, “you belong in Longmont.”
Longmont a Solar Street Lighting Supporter
Longmont has already made significant efforts to create a more sustainable city; in fact, it is a “Solar Friendly Community” with a bronze designation granted through the US Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative. This designation allows Longmont residents to claim a $500 discount when installing solar power through participating contractors.
At the municipal level, solar power implementation is also possible. Aided by the Boulder County Youth Corps, the city replaced every pedestal light bulb in the city with an LED luminaire. They’ve started converting their existing street lights as well. The city can take this one step further: since Longmont already owns its municipal power utility, it has more control over future power supply sources and prices, rather than relying on a private utility company to make those decisions. Choosing solar power to energize commercial street lighting systems in Longmont would help the city further reduce power costs and maintenance requirements that add to the city’s budget—and ultimately to taxpayers’ bills.
The city has also brought up the need to rehabilitate and enhance its aging park infrastructure. Several projects have been drafted in 2017, including Kensington Park and Alta Park. Many Longmont parks installed in the past 20 years have reached or exceeded their life expectancy—this aging infrastructure needs to be replaced to maintain safe park conditions. This is a perfect time to add solar lighting where none existed before, helping to promote safety and security while preserving the existing landscape with no trenching or other significant disruption required for installation.
The community also desires sustainable improvements, with the Sustainable Resilient Longmont group rallying for Longmont officials to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2030. With the many initiatives already in place here, this ambitious goal may be closer than Longmont thinks, and solar power can play a role in helping the city reach future targets.