Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed seven new clean-energy focused bills into law, with HB-1003, the Community Solar Gardens Modernization Act, the key piece of legislation that allows consumers the choice of how and by whom their clean energy is generated. Colorado was the first state in the nation to enact community solar legislation in 2011, and this session’s energy legislation cements Colorado’s status as a leader in clean energy, with the community solar industry paving the way.
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. Community solar provides all households with equal access to renewable energy generation and is the only way that both solar and consumer choice can simultaneously grow without being beholden to monopoly utilities. 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.