CH2M HILL, Englewood, Colo., has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help 25 American cities accelerate the adoption of solar energy. The contract is part of The Solar America Initiative, a DOE effort to make solar electricity from photovoltaics (PV) cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity from the utility grid by 2015. Under the three-year, $5.5 million contract, CH2M HILL's IT Consulting and Spatial Information Management practices will work alongside the DOE and officials from 25 cities taking part in the DOE's Solar America Cities program, to eliminate market barriers to adoption and debut new solar solutions.

"DOE's Solar America Cities Program is helping our cities accelerate the adoption of clean, solar energy technologies," says Tom Kimbis, director of the Solar America Cities program. "With technical assistance, cities will have expert assistance to overcome market and technical barriers."

Contracted through separate task orders, CH2M HILL will work with the DOE and officials in each city to create customized programs that encompass solar engineering, financial modeling studies, zoning code revisions, structural engineering analysis, emergency management operations using solar power, site selection for solar arrays, and installer certification and training. The contract follows a seven-month pilot program.

The 25 cities that CH2M HILL will be working with alongside the DOE include: Denver; Houston; Knoxville, Tenn.; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Seattle; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Madison, Wis.; New Orleans; New York; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; and Tucson, Ariz.