Coloradans one step away from plugging-in to solar power

Media Releases

Environment Colorado

Denver, CO – Working closely together, state legislators unanimously passed the Homegrown Renewable Energy Act, House Bill 1160, out of the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy committee today.  The bill’s passage out of committee is the result of hard work and cooperation between key legislative champions, rural electric cooperatives and conservationists.

“This bill gives all Coloradans a greater opportunity to harness Colorado’s clean, renewable resources and will pay consumers the fair price they deserve for the electricity they generate at their homes and businesses,” stated Senator Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) after the committee vote this afternoon.

Often times, renewable energy systems for homes and businesses produce more electricity than a single home or business may need.  That excess electricity goes into the grid and can provide clean energy to additional customers.

The Homegrown Renewable Energy Act would allow Colorado homeowners to be paid a fair retail rate for excess electricity produced by their own solar energy systems, as well as other renewable forms of energy, ensuring homeowners benefit from their use of new and clean energy.

The bill picked up a new sponsor heading into the senate, Senator Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus), who played an instrumental role working to ensure this solution made sense for rural electric cooperatives. Senator Jim Isgar stated, “The Homegrown Renewable Energy Act is a win for Colorado’s rural homeowners and small businesses, and is great way to continue Colorado’s efforts to harness its clean energy resources.”

The bill also has enormous bipartisan support, passing out of the Colorado House of Representatives on February 13th with near unanimous consent (63-1) under the leadership of house sponsor Representative Judy Solano (D-Thornton).

Currently, unless a customer is served by Colorado’s largest electric utilities or a handful of electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, there is no compensation for the extra electricity they produce.  This measure will help to ensure a fair rate for all Coloradans and help spur investment into solar power and other forms of clean energy.

“Colorado can go solar today!” said Pam Kiely, legislative director for Environment Colorado. “We are one step closer to having a half million solar roofs helping to power Colorado. By making solar technologies more affordable, we can increase our energy security and give ourselves the ammunition we need to fight global warming.”

For the utility, a program of this nature provides an incentive to the more forward-looking Coloradan and it is an inexpensive way for the utility to meet its peak demand. Instead of paying the higher costs of another unit of energy, the utility can fulfill its customers’ needs through the purchase of distributive renewable energy.  Furthermore, the consumer pays the upfront and full cost of the renewable energy system.

“We need to include all rural Coloradans in the New Energy Economy,” said Leland Swenson, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union. “By passing homegrown power today, we help Colorado’s farmers and ranchers take advantage of the windy eastern plains and our sunny state to power rural communities.”