Colorado solar projects got a nice boost toward the end of last week, with Governor Jared Polis adding his signature to seven new bills focused on clean energy. For solar developers and consumers, the main point of interest is bill HB-1003 - the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act.
In 2011, Colorado was the first state in the country to bring about community solar legislation and now they are continuing along this solar-positive trajectory. The new bill removes restrictions on the size and location of community solar gardens, thus allowing for greater rural accessibility and improved economies of scale for those concerned with the construction of these community solar projects.
Community solar is hugely popular in Colorado, with lengthy waiting lists for existing community solar gardens. This is unsurprising given that somewhere in the region of 75% of Colorado homes are unsuited to rooftop solar projects. Furthermore, this viable percentage shrinks when low-to-moderate income households are accounted for. Community solar provides a level of clean energy access that rooftop solar cannot and this new bill will only help to further improve this accessibility.
Colorado remains a leader in the renewables sector and these new bills will allow residents to support the state’s ambitious clean energy goals of 100% renewable energy by 2040.
David Amster-Olszewski, CEO of SunShare and major proponent of HB-1003, offered the following comment:
“Community solar represents the best new model for consumer participation in renewable energy sweeping the nation, originating first in Colorado a few years ago and followed by over 18 states. By engaging consumers, community solar will be an instrumental part of Colorado's clean energy goals, and re-asserts Colorado as a nationwide leader in renewable energy on its goal to reach 100% renewable by – or before – 2040”
It’s clear that the future is bright for the Colorado solar industry and community solar projects in particular.
By Shane Croghan