Colorado Governor Jared Polis is set to sign seven new clean-energy focused bills into law tomorrow (May 30, 2019), with HB-1003, the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act, being the key piece of legislation. HB-1003 removes arbitrary restrictions on the size and location of community solar gardens, expanding community solar access to rural counties and improving the economies of scale for constructing a community solar garden. Colorado was the first state in the nation to enact community solar legislation in 2011.

The popularity of community solar – as evidenced by long waitlists for capacity in existing gardens; by 20 other states adopting community solar legislation; by the increasing pool of bidders to win community solar capacity in Colorado; by more than 500 megawatts of applications in Minnesota, where community solar capacity is uncapped – has even forced Xcel Energy, the largest utility in Colorado and Minnesota, to be the nation’s first major utility to adopt a policy to be 100% carbon-free by 2050.

Community solar impact

Colorado has set its energy goals sky high – 100% renewable energy by 2040 – and community solar is the one approach that broadens access to solar energy while preserving customer choice. Approximately 75% of Colorado homes are not suitable for rooftop solar, and that percentage shrinks when assessed for low- to moderate-income households, which makes this new legislation a real victory for underserved populations who cannot or don’t want to put solar panels on their roofs, or make an upfront investment to produce their own clean energy.

Read more at Solar Builder Mag