Power projects are hands-on, clean energy projects designed to make a measurable environmental change right here in Northern Colorado, including:

  • Catalyzing clean energy projects with solar installations and solar modeling
  • Evaluating electric vehicle infrastructure and cost structures
  • Generating clean energy awareness through community outreach and education
  • Increasing energy efficiency with advanced energy technologies and assessment
Get involved today

Power Projects will engage teams made up of Sparks (mentees), Energizers (mentors) and community partners. Get involved and help build a brighter, more sustainable world.

Be a Power Partner and implement a Power Project at your Northern Colorado organization and/or home.
Be an Energizer and provide meaningful mentorship for those new to the clean energy field while implementing a Power Project.
Be a Spark and build your clean energy resume with hands-on Power Project experience under the guidance of an expert mentor.

She’s in Power Projects

Power Projects will kick off in January 2023 with a goal of addressing climate change and igniting the next generation of women in clean energy. At the end of the year, the Power Project team judged to have had the biggest impact takes home the coveted Hypatia Cup.*

* Hypatia was the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer of her time (4th and 5th century Egypt) and one of the earliest known women to study and teach math. Her peerless innovation is the inspiration for the Hypatia Cup.

2021 Projects:

Project NameProject StatusPower PartnerProject ElementsEstimated Project LengthTime Commitment Level of Difficulty# of SparksEnergizer
Fort Collins EV Charging Stations
Northern Colorado Clean CitiesData analysis | Feasibility analysis | Technical SupportMay to Aug (Summer)10-15 hours per week1-2Yes
Educational PV and Gardening Initiative
Sandbox SolarOutreach and engagement | Technical SupportMay 2021 to May 20225 hours per week1-2Yes
Northern Colorado Solar Tour
American Solar Energy SocietyOutreach and engagement May to Aug (Summer)5-10 hours per weekSparks can work alone or in small groups (up to 3)Yes
Affordable Housing and Solar Energy
Habitat for HumanityData analysis | Outreach and engagementMay to Aug (Summer)5 hours per week1-2Yes
Clean Energy Challenge
City of Fort CollinsTechnical feasibility | Data analysis | Outreach and engagementMay to Aug (Summer)6 hours per week1Yes
Self-Sustained Container Home
Institute for the Built EnvironmentTechnical feasibilityMay to Dec (or upon project completion)2-5 hours per week0Yes
Solar Energy Marketing Plan
Solaris EnergyOutreach and engagementAug to Dec (Fall)5-10 hours per week2Yes
Renewable Energy Resiliency
Colorado State UniversityTechnical feasibility | Data analysisAug to Dec (Fall)2-5 hour per week2Yes

Modeling EV charging costs for specific sites considering installing EVSE (level II and level III (DCFC)) using local utility rate structures and other site characteristics and Integrating Evs into solar projects and building analysis.

Education, connection and outreach are the top priorities. Work with Sandbox Solar to re-establish relationships with local schools (K-12) in Larimer and Weld counties to build their educational gardening program. The project could include elementary, middle, or high school educational outreach, including school visits or virtual lectures, focused on renewable energy and food production. Ideally this project will lead to agrivoltaic/solar integration at the school’s educational gardens.

Organize a local Solar Tour aimed at increasing awareness and educating the public about solar. The National Solar Tour is the largest grassroots solar event in the nation. The Tour is about neighbors talking to each other about solar, recommendations on installers, financing, local laws or issues they may want to learn form their neighbors, and with out added virtual tours, an even broader solar network.

Investigate the costs and benefits of solar and energy efficiency upgrades to inform future HFH planning decisions. Gather homeowner feedback and testimonials to supplement technical analysis.

Establish North Aztlan Community Center as a resilience hub during community emergencies. This project involves resiliency, PV solar, and battery storage. It also entails community engagement and outreach.

Help Solaris Energy create and implement a plan to raise awareness of CSU’s new solar expansions that will provide clean, renewable energy to the campus. The focus will be toward campus students, faculty, and staff. Spark will collaborate work with CSU’s communication and corporate development resources.

Enhance resiliency of renewable energy right on Colorado State Universities campus! Sparks will work with CSU Faculty and local partners – Solaris Energy and Namaste Solar – in their efforts to add 21 new solar installations throughout 2021 and 2022. This project will work towards enhancing renewable electric supply by combining solar with battery storage.

The Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University is looking for help from an Energizer (mentor) for an innovative renewable energy project. This project already has a Spark! The project is to design a prototype of a self-sustained tiny home prototype that will be built in the structure of a shipping container. The goal is to create a modular configuration that could be marketed for emergency housing for natural disaster recovery efforts as well as other potential applications such as temporary housing for wellness villages at rural hospitals, back-yard accessory dwelling units for seniors (“granny-flats”), and other such potential applications. The Energizer must have experience in energy modeling. Preferred experience in:

  • Knowledge of standards, codes, and rating systems associated with sustainability and energy performance.
  • Knowledge of building materials, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, lighting, other loads, and controls.
  • Ability to perform simulation / analysis of building systems and utilize an established / recognized PC based simulation model. Options include BOpt, Energy Plus, Trace, HAP, eQuest, etc.
  • Capability to link results of the energy simulations to presentation / reporting software.

Past Power Projects:

Project NameProject StatusPower PartnerProject ElementsEstimated Project LengthLevel of Difficulty# of SparksEnergizer Needed?
Green Building Analysis
Brendle GroupData analysis | Technical support | Feasibility analysis3-4 months1-2No
Freezer Consolidation
Rocky Mountain Raptor ProgramTechnical support | Feasibility analysis2-3 months1-2Yes
Fort Collins Solar Co-op
Solar United NeighborsData analysis | Technical support | Outreach and engagement6 months2-5No
City of Fort Collins’ Multifamily Building Energy Challenge
Institute for the Built EnvironmentData analysis | Technical support | Outreach and engagement6 months2-5Yes
Crowd-funded Solar Demonstration Project
Solar United NeighborsData analysis | Technical support | Outreach and engagement3-4 months1-2No
Bike Parking Shelter Solar PV
Colorado State UniversityTechnical support2-3 months1-2Yes
College Avenue Parking Garage Solar
Colorado State UniversityTechnical support | Feasibility analysis2-3 months1-2Yes
Meridian Village Solar PV
Colorado State UniversityTechnical support2-3 months1-2Yes
Solar PV Canopies in Parking Lots
Colorado State UniversityTechnical support | Feasibility analysis2-3 months1-2Yes
PV Solar Modeling & Analysis
City of Fort Collins UtilitiesData analysis
Technical support
2-3 months1-2No
C-PACE Toolkit
Downtown Development AuthorityOutreach and engagement2-3 months2-3Yes
Energy Party
TBDOutreach and engagement8-10 weeks2-3Yes
Lightbulb Swap Event
TBDOutreach and engagement8-10 weeks2-3Yes
On-site Commercial Energy Audit
TBDData analysis | Technical support | Outreach and engagement6-8 weeks2-5Yes
Custom Project

Help Brendle Group, a local engineering and planning consulting firm, continue to lead the way in sustainable building design. The green team at Brendle Group, referred to as CaOS for Community and Organizational Sustainability, has identified several potential energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities in their headquarters building that they could use your help with. Potential projects to consider include a whole-building circulation fan, solar PV panel repair and replacement, and LED lighting replacements. Sparks and Energizers will work with members of the CaOS team and receive technical support and guidance to conduct feasibility analysis of the potential projects and develop a detailed implementation plan with priority recommendations. Key tasks involved in this project include:

  • Review of past building improvements
  • Conduct analysis of potential projects, including but not limited to:
    • Capital investment requirements
    • Potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions
    • Estimated energy and cost savings
  • Prioritize potential projects based on analysis and develop key recommendations
  • Develop a detailed implementation plan for the key recommendations

The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program has multiple freezers that house food for rehabilitation patients and educational ambassadors that vary in age and condition. Sparks and Energizers will assess the energy use of these appliances through data logging and use the collected data to develop three energy savings recommendations:

  1. Immediate no cost option: All freezers will be ranked by energy performance and estimated cost to operate. This data will be used to develop a prioritization strategy to allow older and more inefficient units to be shut down first when not all freezers are needed.
  2. Short-term, low-cost option: Each freezer will also be analyzed for replacement with a high efficiency unit of similar size. This analysis will include equipment recommendations, applicable rebates, energy and cost savings, and simple payback of the equipment upgrade. The team will identify any units that should be immediately replaced based on potential energy and cost savings.
  3. Long term, ideal solution: The sparks and energizers also will present the most energy efficient option for food storage, which we expect to be a high efficiency walk-in freezer. This recommendation will include specifications for recommended equipment, expected equipment and installation costs, and anticipated energy and cost savings. This portion of the report will be used for long range facility planning.

Solar United Neighbors, a fellow Innovate Fort Collins Challenge recipient, is launching a solar co-op in the Fort Collins community. Help bring homeowners together into a group, or solar co-op, and provide unbiased, installer-neutral support to solar co-op participants through each stage of the process of going solar. Sparks with an experienced team will support Solar United Neighbors through:

  1. Planning, preparing, and promoting an informational session(s) in the community
  2. Recruiting community members by developing and implementing a communications campaign
  3. Receiving training and practice of solar roof review
  4. Shadowing an installation and more!

For more information about Solar United Neighbors and the Fort Collins Solar Co-op, visit: www.solarunitedneighbors.org/fortcollins.

Starting in 2020, the City of Fort Collins will begin requiring multifamily properties to do energy benchmarking. Ahead of this requirement, the Fort Collins Utilities is hosting a Multifamily Benchmarking Energy Challenge. The challenge calls on property manager and owners to benchmark with ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. By entering and sharing energy and water data, participants will unlock opportunities to improve building performance and increase tenant satisfaction and will be eligible for awards for performance and innovation that can set their buildings apart from the crowd.

To make this challenge a success, Colorado State University’s Institute for the Built Environment need volunteers to support building owners and managers. Volunteering will help you build technical skills, network, and help Fort Collins achieve its climate action goals! Opportunities to get involved are listed below.

  1. Data Support: Learn about energy data and develop relationships with property owners. In this role, you will assist individual challenge participants with gathering and entering data into ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®. Gain hands-on experience with Portfolio Manager and energy data management while building capacity in property managers.
  2. Benchmarking “Jams”: Learn about energy data and build connections with others in the energy field. Throughout the challenge, “jams” will bring together participants, largely property managers, to input data and learn together. In this role, you will provide technical support during jams, gaining better understanding of the real-world challenges faced by residential property managers in tracking and understanding their energy data, and in using Portfolio Manager®. If you have deep expertise in using Portfolio Manager for residential properties, you may also wish to lead technical trainings, offered in addition to jams.
  3. Tenant Engagement: Act as a catalyst in your community and meet your neighbors. This role entails educating tenants about the importance of energy conservation. It offers a valuable opportunity to better understand environmental behavioral change because you will work with your neighbors to address their barriers and embrace their incentives to changing energy behavior. If you recruit your own property into the challenge, your engagement of tenants could help your property win.

Help address the energy needs of our mobile lifestyles by tapping into the power of the sun! Solar United Neighbors is interested in pursuing a crowd-funded small-scale solar system demonstration project in the Fort Collins community. Sparks and Energizers, with technical support and guidance, will develop and implement a demonstration project by:

  1. Researching small-scale solar projects and technologies and identifying which are appropriate for the Fort Collins community.
  2. Finding potential demonstration sites and evaluating their potential solar.
  3. Developing a proposal and plan documenting the research, demonstration sites, analysis and evaluation, and recommendations for future implementation of the selected demonstration project.

Colorado State University Facilities Management is looking to install new covered bike parking on campus this summer that will include solar PV panels. Sparks and Energizers will work with Facilities Management staff to determine the potential impact of implementing a campus-wide policy of installing solar on all new covered bike parking. The analysis will include potential solar capacity, incremental construction costs, and any available incentives or rebates.

Colorado State University Facilities Management is looking to install additional solar PV on campus. Specifically, a new parking garage on campus was built using renewable ready construction principles and is a priority site for additional solar PV installation. Sparks and Energizers will work with Facilities Management staff to complete a feasibility analysis of installing solar PV on this site. This analysis will include the size of solar PV system that can be installed on the garage ramp, the power generation potential, and estimated installation costs.

Colorado State University Facilities Management is looking to install additional solar PV on campus. There is a new large housing project being installed near the Canvas stadium that is in schematic design phase. Through this project, Sparks and Energizers will analyze the incremental cost between solar ready construction and installing the solar PV panels during construction as well as the potential energy generation of the PV system. This analysis will be used by the project team to inform decision making during project design.

Colorado State University Facilities Management is looking to install additional solar PV on campus. Based on data provided by Facilities Management staff, Sparks and Energizers will investigate the feasibility of installing solar canopies in select parking lots on campus. This includes estimated cost, energy production, and other infrastructure considerations. The outcomes of this investigation will be used by a technical team to inform preliminary project conversations.

Fort Collins Utilities has identified a need for PV solar data analytics to enhance understanding of residential PV solar generation in the Fort Collins community. A database of residential PV system characteristics is being updated, which can provide input metrics for detailed system modeling. Colorado State University’s (CSU) Energy Institute has developed a flexible PV model (CSU-PVLib) that can provide estimates of generation patterns for individual customer installations at a granular level (15- minute metering increments). PV system output from the model can also be combined with measured net load/generation data to estimate premise electricity use. As a Spark, you will work with the Project Team to support aggregating generation and usage estimates to provide insights regarding PV generation operations across the distribution network, supporting future City of Fort Collins Utilities planning efforts. The Project Team which includes John Phelan (Energy Services Senior Manager – Fort Collins Utilities), Leland Keller (Energy Services Engineer – Fort Collins Utilities), and John Bleem (Research Associate – CSU Energy Institute).

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has a new toolkit to help member businesses navigate the process for financing clean energy projects through the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) mechanism. Approved in Larimer County in 2018, C-PACE is a long-term financing mechanism for eligible commercial property owners to finance up to 100% of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation eligible improvements. Business owners looking to implement eligible improvements benefit through decreased energy costs, increased building cash flow, and 3rd-party vetted technical and financial projections. Sparks and Energizers will help increase adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy in the downtown Fort Collins area through the use of the toolkit. They will conduct business walks, plan and host informational sessions for businesses, and support digital (website, email, etc.) outreach. The goal of the outreach is to engage at least one downtown business in C-PACE and/or an energy efficiency or renewable energy project in 2019.

Plan and host an energy party in your home and/or neighborhood. What is an energy party? An energy party is a free opportunity for you, your friends, and your neighbors to connect with each other and learn about energy efficiency and the City of Fort Collins’ climate goals, cost savings and rebate opportunities, and other ways you can contribute to reducing your energy use. Sparks and Energizers will receive support and best practices on content, messaging, and outreach from C3E. You can also choose to partner with other relevant local organizations to exhibit during the party to provide additional information for your neighbors. Key tasks involved in planning an energy party:

  • Identify target neighborhoods and potential participants
  • Plan the logistics of the party, including but not limited to:
    • Location(s)
    • Date/time
    • Agenda
    • Additional programming
    • Food/beverage
    • Supplemental materials and information
  • Recruit experts to engage with participants on your chosen topics
  • Host the energy party
  • Advertise the energy party through social media, door-to-door outreach, flyers, email etc.

Plan and host one or multiple events encouraging residents to properly discard old, inefficient lightbulbs and receive new, efficient LEDs with a pledge to install the bulbs in their homes. Provide information about the benefits of LEDs over old, inefficient lightbulbs. Sparks and Energizers will receive support and best practices for event planning and potential partner outreach by C3E. Key tasks involved in planning the event, include:

  • Pursue a project partner to support disposal of old, inefficient lightbulbs and donate LEDs
  • Plan the logistics of the event, including but not limited to:
    • Location(s)
    • Date/time
    • Additional programming
    • Food/beverage
    • Supplemental materials and information
  • Advertise the event through social media, door-to-door outreach, flyers, email etc.
  • Determine how to properly dispose of old, inefficient lightbulbs

Help businesses determine how much energy and money they could save by conducting an on-site energy audit of commercial buildings. Audits include utility bill analysis, on-site survey of energy using systems and equipment, and identify energy-saving opportunities. Sparks and Energizers will receive technical support, training, and supervision to conduct an on-site audit and outreach to find interested businesses by C3E. Additional technical resources will be made available, such as audit calculators and reports, to assist in identifying potential opportunities and cost savings. Teams will need to provide the business with a final report of findings, priority recommendations, and resources, such as eligible Efficiency Works rebates.

Key tasks involved in this project include:

  • Outreach to local businesses
  • Technical training for conducting an on-site energy audit
  • Conduct at least one on-site audit
  • Prepare and submit a final audit report with recommendations to participating business(es)

Have your own clean energy project in mind? Already working on clean energy-related research? As a Spark, receive technical support and guidance from an Energizer and an additional clean energy expert to jumpstart or bolster your efforts and ideas. In order to select a Custom Project as your Power Project, Colorado C3E requires additional approvals and supplemental materials. Please be prepared to answer and speak to the following:

  • Project name
  • Detailed project description
  • List the name, relevant affiliations, and role of the each of the individuals on the project team (if applicable)
  • Is the project funded? If so, who are the funders and how much is the project funded?
  • What are the anticipated project outcomes and metrics?
  • What is the timeline for completion of the project?
  • What additional resources do you require to successfully execute your project?
  • What are the risks and barriers to project implementation and success?
  • How will She’s in Power benefit your project?

Join a She’s in Power Project team today!

Become a Spark, Energizer or Power Partner.