January 29, 2014
'Rooftop solar represents a huge opportunity for Colorado to harness pollution free energy with no fuel costs. We cannot roll back one of the most successful solar programs. Net metering is a fair and appropriate way to compensate people for energy they provide for Colorado's electric system'
Today (January 29) the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a motion from the Colorado Energy Office that will keep one of the state's most successful solar programs in place for the near term and provide an opportunity for a diverse stakeholder discussion about the future of rooftop solar in Colorado. This decision follows strong public opposition to a plan from Xcel Energy to roll back the popular solar program, called net metering.
Net metering gives solar customers full retail credit on their energy bills for the excess power they contribute to the grid for the utility to resell nearby. Xcel issued a proposal to weaken the popular solar program as part of its 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan docket (Docket No. 13A-0836E). Today's (January 29) PUC decision removes all issues related to net metering to a new docket that will allow a more thorough discussion of the value and design of Colorado's net metering program.
Today's (January 29) PUC decision was widely supported by businesses, environmental groups and other Colorado stakeholders:
"The vast majority of Coloradans want rooftop solar to be more available and more affordable. This is truly about power to the people. This decision helps ensure a thoughtful discussion about the value of rooftop solar. We appreciate the Colorado Energy Office and the Public Utilities Commission's action on this issue," said Edward Stern, Executive Director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA), which represents a wide range of Colorado solar businesses including manufacturers, distributors, and installers.
'Our future national security is directly linked to our ability to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and produce secure, clean and local energy. Private investment in rooftop solar is helping build that cleaner, safer and more resilient energy supply here in Colorado. Operation Free supports clearing the way for more Coloradans to harness homegrown solar energy and removing unnecessary barriers to solar adoption," said Brett Hunt, a veteran of the war in Iraq and the Colorado Spokesman for Operation Free. Operation Free is a nationwide coalition of veterans and national security experts working to secure America with clean energy.
'We believe that every consumer who wants solar should have access to it. Colorado residents are becoming more aware of the benefits of solar energy because we care about our environment, our way of life and the future of Colorado. Solar power clearly avoids air emissions and water consumption, and rooftop solar provides the added benefit of transmitting power that is produced locally,' said The Reverend Elias D. Burgos, Executive Director of Colorado Interfaith Power and Light, a non-profit organization focused on a religious response to climate change.
'Rooftop solar represents a huge opportunity for Colorado to harness pollution free energy with no fuel costs. We cannot roll back one of the most successful solar programs. Net metering is a fair and appropriate way to compensate people for energy they provide for Colorado's electric system," said Kim Stevens, Campaign Director for Environment Colorado, an organization dedicated to protecting our Colorado's air, water and open spaces.
Statements from additional supporting organizations are available at: http://www.oursolarrights.org/state-campaigns/colorado/puc-decision-statements
Rooftop solar helps Colorado families, schools and businesses take charge of their power supply and their electricity bills. This private investment in local clean energy delivers economic, environmental and public health benefits to solar and non-solar customers alike.
- Grid benefits: Local solar energy systems reduce the need for expensive centralized power plants and transmission infrastructure, which benefits Colorado's non-solar customers. Independent analysis shows that these grid benefits total up to $13.6 million annually for Xcel's ratepayers in Colorado.
- Job & economic benefits: More than 300 solar companies currently employ 3,600 Coloradans throughout the state. In 2012, private investment in installing solar on Colorado homes and businesses totaled $187 million.
- Consumer choice: Recent poll results show that statewide support for net metering exceeds 70 percent in every region around the state and is greater than 60 percent across all of the key voter groups in Colorado.
Groups supporting Colorado's net metering program include:
Advanced Energy Economy, Clean Energy Action, Clean Power Finance, COSEIA, Dynamic Integration, EnergyShouldBe.org, Environment Colorado, Five Star Consultants, Go Green Electric, Interfaith Power & Light, Namaste Solar, Operation Free, Real Goods Solar, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Sierra Club, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter, SolarCity, Sunrun, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), Verengo Solar and Vote Solar.
About net metering
Like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill, net metering gives solar customers full credit on their utility bills for the excess clean power they contribute to the grid. In place in 43 states, this simple crediting arrangement is one of the most important state policies for enabling Americans to generate their own power from solar and other renewable energy resources. Learn more at: www.OurSolarRights.org
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