Thanks to solid solar policies, Colorado continues to be a top solar state. Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which set a goal of getting 30% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, also includes a 3% carve-out for distributed generation resources like rooftop solar. A popular rebate program and strong net metering policy have further cleared the way for private investment in Colorado solar. The 270 MW of solar energy currently installed in Colorado ranks the state 5th in the country in cumulative installed solar capacity. There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 49,000 homes.
Colorado also ranks sixth in the country for solar jobs, with over 3,600 local solar jobs. See the Solar Foundation’s solar job map for more information.
In 2010, Colorado passed one of the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the country (30% by 2020), with strong provisions for distributed resources like rooftop solar. Because of this strong policy commitment, between 600-700 megawatts of solar will be installed. Even with those aggressive renewable targets, the state’s main utility, XCEL Energy, is already blowing them out of the water. As of February 2012, they already met their renewable energy goals through 2021!
Colorado became the first U.S. state to create a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by ballot initiative when voters approved Amendment 37 in November 2004. The original version of Colorado’s RPS required utilities serving 40,000 or more customers to generate or purchase enough renewable energy to supply 10% of their retail electric sales. The RPS had a solar set-aside requiring that 0.4% of the state’s power should come from solar energy by 2015.
In 2007, then Governor Ritter led the charge to increase the RPS. HB07-1281 into law in 2007– doubled the renewable energy targets from Amendment 37. In 2010 the RPS was again increased by Colorado’s legislators. With support from Vote Solar and our strong local partners, HB 10-1001 passed into law in 2010; the bill required investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to dramatically increase their percentage of electricity sales coming from smaller, distributed renewable energy projects. In total, HB 10-1001 is expected to deploy 700 MW of distributed solar generation by 2020 – in turn supporting 23,450 jobs. Extending the same requirement to all state electricity producers, including Municipal Electric Utilities and Electric Co-ops, Colorado could expect to see 1000 MW of new rooftop solar power.
- Vote Solar released a report on the economic and environmental benefits the state could capture if 1,000 MW of solar were developed. Full report here (PDF).
Vote Solar’s lead for Colorado is Annie Lappe, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 720.402.9102