Clean Energy Insights

Zen Center of Denver Goes Solar, Fulfilling 100% of Electricity Needs and Saving $80,000

4 minute read

The Zen Center of Denver (ZCD) embraces clean energy in surprisingly fossil fuel dependent Colorado, with hopes of inspiring other nonprofits and residents in the Denver metro area to follow suit.  

Denver, Colorado - Saturday, June 15 – Today, the Zen Center of Denver (ZCD), in partnership with RE-volv, celebrated the commissioning of their new 9.7 kWdc solar installation. The center, which formed in 1974 and moved into a new temple in 2019, will now save nearly $80,000 in electricity costs over the next 20 years and avoid the emissions from buying coal and natural gas-fired power from the utility grid. The celebration included an open house, food trucks, brief remarks, and solar education and information for attendees considering going solar at home. 

While Colorado’s sunny skies and favorable solar policies make it among the best states for solar energy, the state still generates the majority of electricity using fossil fuels. Studies show that nonresidential businesses and nonprofits going solar are important drivers to inspire residents in the state to go solar. Further, it is now possible for tax-exempt organizations to receive 30% or more cash back on the cost of a solar system, thanks to changes made by the Inflation Reduction Act.

“My meditation practice and the community at the Zen Center has given me tools to navigate some very big life challenges more gracefully,” said Zen Center of Denver board member, Joyce McLaren. “I am thrilled to have helped the Zen Center go solar. The cost savings will be invested into our mission, like providing mindfulness classes to the community, and there are environmental and health benefits from reducing emissions from electricity use. The solar project is a beautiful example of the Zen practice of taking Right Action to reduce suffering in the world.” 

Under the agreement with RE-volv, a nonprofit solar finance organization, ZCD will save 15% on their electricity bill every month, compared to buying power from the utility. Bluecore Solar installed ZCD’s solar system and is available to do installations for other interested residents and nonprofits in Colorado. 

"RE-volv is thrilled to collaborate with the Zen Center of Denver, empowering them to lead the charge for solar energy in their community. Through this partnership, we aim to amplify the Zen Center's commitment to sustainability, intertwining their teachings of mindfulness with tangible action toward a brighter, more equitable future," remarked Andreas Karelas, Executive Director and Founder of RE-volv.

About the Zen Center of Denver 

Founded in 1974, The Zen Center of Denver is a lay Buddhist community offering authentic Zen practice and training to all who wish to uncover their innate wisdom and compassion and live with greater awareness in everyday life. ZCD offers a full range of opportunities for Zen training, including daily zazen (seated meditation), dokusan (private instruction with a teacher), samu (work practice), zazenkai (all-day sittings), and sesshin (week-long retreats). ZCD members are engaged in many ways with the local community including teaching meditation and dharma to prisoners, providing dharma-based support for those in recovery, and volunteering both with the Metro Caring food bank and Samaritan House shelter. In addition, ZCD teachers offer a wide variety of classes to the public in Buddhist basics and in mindfulness training.

About RE-volv

RE-volv is a climate justice nonprofit that helps nonprofits in historically excluded communities across the country go solar, while raising awareness about equitable climate solutions, and training the next generation of clean energy leaders. To date, RE-volv has developed and financed solar projects for over 70 nonprofits in 18 states, collectively saving them $20+ Million on their electricity bills, allowing them to better serve their 50,000 beneficiaries. The 4MW+ of solar RE-volv installed to date will avoid 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the life of the systems. RE-volv is an inaugural member of the White House National Community Solar Partnership and is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Innovation Network. Learn more at or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and X.

RE-volv: Tierney Sheehan, [email protected], (858) 735-1169

The Zen Center of Denver: Judy Johansen, [email protected], 303-455-1500


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