A so-called “solar garden” bill in the Colorado House that’s designed to make solar energy available to people who can’t afford to build their own solar energy systems has drawn opposition from an unexpected source -- the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES).
In a letter to Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, and other sponsors of the bill, CRES's Policy Committee said (we) “believe that the bill’s intent is very good” but that it “may yield unintended consequences that are detrimental both to the developing solar business in Colorado, and to the goal that new legislation should incentivize additional RE (renewable energy) beyond what would otherwise occur.” The letter was signed by Becky English, chair of the CRES Policy Committee.
“Without exception, members of the Policy Committee support Community Solar Gardens conceptually,” the letter said. “There is great merit in providing traditionally disenfranchised renters, low-income ill-sited, shady-roofed, mobile people an opportunity to own part of a nearby PV (photovoltaic) system.”
The problem, CRES said in its letter, is that the bill’s worded in a way that could allow wholesale providers who generate electricity specifically to sell to a utility rather for their own use to fill part of Xcel Energy's requirement to obtain a certain percentage its energy from retail users whose renewable-energy systems are intended primarily for their own use.
“Representative Levy, we greatly appreciate all you have accomplished for clean energy in Colorado, and we do trust your intentions and sincerity,” CRES said. “We hope that there is yet opportunity to amend the bill along the lines suggested above.”
The solar garden bill, H.B. 1342, passed the House on second reading on Tuesday.
Levy couldn’t be reached for comment, but sponsors of the bill reportedly are looking at amending it to address the concerns raised by CRES.