Colorado Modernizes its Community Solar Program

In a beautiful field of solar panels just outside of Denver, I watched today as Governor Jared Polis signed Colorado’s new Community Solar Modernization Act (HB19-1003) into law along with a suite of transformative clean energy and climate policies.

Colorado established itself as a national leader in the charge to expand participation in the clean energy economy when the state adopted its community solar program back in 2010. The state’s original community solar program structure included a five percent per project carveout to serve low-income families, an important provision designed to make sure that these shared solar facilities provide real economic opportunity to communities where it’s needed most.

The legislation signed today takes further steps to expand community solar opportunity, notably by increasing individual project sizes and removing onerous siting restrictions.

These changes place some of Colorado’s core program elements back on par with other state community solar leaders across the country. We thank Rep. Hansen, Rep. Valdez, Sen. Foote and Sen. Story for their leadership championing the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act through the legislature and helping build a clean energy future that works for everybody.

However, to truly be a national leader, Colorado needs to deliver on the promise of community solar — that it can expand access to everyone regardless of income level or housing type. Fortunately, the Public Service Commission is in the process of revisiting its community solar rules. Vote Solar strongly supports a proposal that would require fifty percent of new community solar projects to serve low-income households, low-income service organizations, residences, agricultural, and small commercial customers.

It’s important steps like these at the General Assembly and Commission that recognize the critical role community solar plays in providing every household and business access to affordable solar and helping Colorado reach 100% renewable energy by 2040.

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