Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


This dissertation analyzed three solar power implementation business models that would transfer the burden of capital, operational, and maintenance costs from an individual to an entity with available funding. Solar power has long been touted as an emissions free and environmentally friendly alternative to more conventional forms of energy, such as coal. Most of Colorado’s electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants. To combat climate change and reduce health risks, Colorado has implemented a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring that 30% of electricity produced in 2020 come from a renewable resource, such as solar. Of this, three percent must derive from distributed generation (DG). Grand Junction is a large town located on the western slope of Colorado that receives over 300 days of sunshine per annum. In the ongoing effort to satisfy Colorado’s RPS, this dissertation identifies and examines: Grand Junction’s solar resource potential; various solar technologies; their attributes, environmental impacts, and advantages/disadvantages of a solar power plant, rooftop solar leasing program, and a third party solar power purchase agreement (SPPA). It then compares each solar power implementation business model options’ attributes and analyzes how each will contribute to Colorado’s RPS, the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs), to satisfying a portion of Grand Junction’s electricity demand in 2020.