Denver, CO – Businesses and environmental organizations announced support for the Colorado Solar Jobs Act (HB XXX), which was introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives today. The legislation is designed to make critical improvements to Xcel Energy’s popular rooftop solar rebate program, giving consumers more access to affordable solar energy while protecting Colorado jobs.
Customer demand for the Xcel solar program in Colorado is currently on track to outweigh its annual funding levels in 2013 and beyond. As a result, new solar installations will flourish at the beginning of the year, only to then grind to a halt until new funding becomes available the following year. This annual “solar cliff” creates unnecessary uncertainty and significant challenges for Colorado energy customers and the solar industry alike.
The Colorado Solar Jobs Act (Representative Max Tyler, District 23 and Representative Dominick Moreno, District 32) will prevent a boom-bust cycle in Colorado’s solar energy industry. The bill carefully redesigns the Xcel rebate program to predictably step down over time as megawatt (MW) milestones are reached, rather than having an annual MW limit. In total, the proposed program will install 200 MW of rooftop solar power over 3 to 5 years, at which point the incentives will have declined to zero. The bill has early support from industry and environmental groups because of the significant economic, environmental and ratepayer benefits it is expected to deliver to Colorado.
“While it’s proven hugely popular, our current solar program creates far too much uncertainty for Coloradoans who want to go solar and for solar companies that want to expand their businesses. That’s no way to build a stable solar economy. The Colorado Solar Jobs Act will provide a steady path to growth that we can all count on,” said Edward Stern, executive director, Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA).
“In addition to providing much-needed market certainty, the Colorado Solar Jobs Act provides a roadmap to a mature solar industry: one that’s capable of providing affordable, reliable solar power without state incentives within just a few years’ time. That’s really exciting,” said Sara Birmingham, director of western states for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“Colorado’s solar leadership is really something to be proud of. Our homes and businesses are going solar in record numbers, and that investment is putting people to work all across the state. The Colorado Solar Jobs Act will allow us to keep building on that success by adding enough solar energy to the state to power 46,000 homes,” said Annie Lappé, solar policy director for Vote Solar.
“All Coloradans benefit from increasing our state’s use of local renewable energy. This bill will make sure Colorado keeps going solar, which means cleaner air and a healthier environment for everyone. This legislation will reduce air pollution equivalent to taking 39,000 cars off the road annually for the next 25 years, ” said Jeanne Bassett, Senior Associate for Environment Colorado.
About Solar in Colorado:
Colorado’s solar industry has been a bright spot of private investment and job creation. With over 200 companies employing more than 3,600 Coloradoans, the local solar industry brings millions of dollars to the state. Colorado currently ranks 5th in the country for the amount of solar power installed with 270 MW, enough to power more than 48,000 homes.
Vote Solar: http://votesolar.org/initiatives/colorado/
Environment Colorado: www.environmentcolorado.org