Colorado Rooftop Solar Keeps Shining for Now

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Vote Solar announces a favorable decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to keep the state’s solar net metering program in place for the near term and provide an opportunity for a diverse stakeholder discussion about the future of rooftop solar in Colorado. This decision follows strong public opposition to a plan from Xcel Energy to roll back the popular program.

 

Though Colorado has moved in and out of various lists of top solar states, its abundant sunshine and favorable policies have made it a great place for solar. Recently, though, there have been concerns about possible threats to rooftop solar in the state.

 

Today there was some good news on this front. Vote Solar issued a press release announcing a favorable decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The PUC has approved a motion from the Colorado Energy Office that will keep one of the state’s most successful solar programs in place for the near term and provide an opportunity for a diverse stakeholder discussion about the future of rooftop solar in Colorado. This decision follows strong public opposition to a plan from Xcel Energy to roll back the popular solar net metering program.

 

Xcel issued a proposal to weaken the popular solar program as part of its 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan docket (Docket No. 13A-0836E). Today’s PUC decision removes all issues related to net metering to a new docket that will allow a more thorough discussion of the value and design of Colorado’s net metering program.

 

Today’s PUC decision was widely supported by businesses, environmental groups, and other Colorado stakeholders. It’s interesting to see the range of interests represented in the statements released by Vote Solar. They include religious groups, solar industry advocates, environmentalists, and war veterans.

 

“The vast majority of Coloradans want rooftop solar to be more available and more affordable. This is truly about power to the people. This decision today helps ensure a thoughtful discussion about the value of rooftop solar. We appreciate the Colorado Energy Office and the Public Utilities Commission’s action on this issue,” said Edward Stern, Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA). COSEIA represents a wide range of Colorado solar businesses, including manufacturers, distributors, and installers.

 

“Our future national security is directly linked to our ability to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and produce secure, clean and local energy. Private investment in rooftop solar is helping build that cleaner, safer and more resilient energy supply here in Colorado. Operation Free supports clearing the way for more Coloradans to harness homegrown solar energy and removing unnecessary barriers to solar adoption,” said Brett Hunt, a veteran of the war in Iraq and the Colorado Spokesman for Operation Free. Operation Free is a nationwide coalition of veterans and national security experts working to secure America with clean energy.

 

“We believe that every consumer who wants solar should have access to it. Colorado residents are becoming more aware of the benefits of solar energy because we care about our environment, our way of life and the future of Colorado. Solar power clearly avoids air emissions and water consumption, and rooftop solar provides the added benefit of transmitting power that is produced locally,” said The Reverend Elias D. Burgos, Executive Director of Colorado Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit organization focused on a religious response to climate change.

 

“Rooftop solar represents a huge opportunity for Colorado to harness pollution free energy with no fuel costs. We cannot roll back one of the most successful solar programs. Net metering is a fair and appropriate way to compensate people for energy they provide for Colorado’s electric system,” said Kim Stevens, Campaign Director for Environment Colorado, an organization dedicated to protecting our Colorado’s air, water, and open spaces.