Denver – Starting tomorrow, over 900,000 Coloradans will get paid for their energy production in their homes, rather than paying for their consumption. It’s all part of a new law that goes into effect on August 5, which allows Coloradans to support energy independence by generating homegrown energy from wind turbines and rooftop solar panels, while staying on the grid.
Bill sponsor Rep. Judy Solano (D-Brighton) demonstrated how the law will benefit Coloradans at a Thornton home today that uses solar paneling for most of its electric use. She also discussed how the new law demonstrates Colorado’s commitment to energy independence, and creates new jobs and opportunities to expand the reach of renewable energy.
“Now, farmers, ranchers and other Coloradans can generate affordable, clean energy at their homes or businesses, and sell excess energy back to the utility company for others to use,” said bill sponsor Rep. Solano. “If people are putting more energy back on the grid than they’re using – if their meter is running backwards so to speak – they will now receive fair compensation for the excess energy they produce, and reduce their utility bill.”
Despite the state’s abundant access to potential sources of renewable energy – we have 300 days of sun annually and lots of wind – 40 percent of Coloradans have difficulty connecting their home or business renewable energy systems to the larger utility grid. The new law streamlines the inconsistent patchwork of rural electric association (REA) and municipal utilities’ (MUs) rules for connecting and metering individual wind and solar systems. By creating a uniform statewide standard, all Coloradans will have the chance to harvest part of the renewable energy economy.
“We want to thank Rep. Solano for helping to bring the New Energy Economy home,” said Keith Hay, energy advocate at Environment Colorado. “By ensuring that Coloradans receive a fair price for the clean energy they produce, we’ve made clean energy more accessible and affordable for everyone. And, by empowering individuals to participate in building the New Energy Economy, we can clean up our air and help our state cut global warming pollution.”
The law preserves an important balance between local control and consumer empowerment. REAs and MUs now have much more flexibility with how they handle excess electricity every year. It also makes renewable energy production more accessible and affordable by allowing individuals to produce renewable energy without incurring penalties for doing so.