Campaign sets goal for 1 million solar roofs

114337797A campaign comprising more than 280 businesses, farmers, ranchers, local officials, civic and environmental organizations and 11,000 people called on Gov. Hickenlooper and other state leaders to support solar energy.

The campaign is called 1 Million Solar Roofs.

The campaign sets a goal of installing 3 gigawatts of solar energy in Colorado by 2030, or roughly 10 times the current installed capacity. The goal includes both rooftop solar and larger arrays.

“There’s strong public support for expanding solar in Colorado,” said Margaret McCall, energy associate with Environment Colorado, in a news release.

“We are all looking to manage and control our energy costs, to identify and opt for cleaner energy sources when possible and to harness for our family, our home, and our business the immense energy that comes from the sun,” said Jason Wiener, co-owner and general counsel for Namaste Solar. “The million solar roofs project paints the vision for where Colorado’s energy future is headed. This is the goal and therefore the challenge of our generation.”

Craig McHugh, owner of A Joyful Noise Farm in Black Forest, said, “As a small farm, we realize every day that anything we can do to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel, lower our cost of doing business and reduce our footprint on this world is a good thing.”

Reaching the goal of 1 million solar roofs would displace 3.6 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year, the equivalent of taking 760,000 of today’s cars off the road, according to a news release by Environment Colorado.

With climate change contributing to drought, fire and floods in Colorado, the need to act swiftly to curb carbon emissions is growing more urgent, McCall said.

Solar electric and solar heating systems would also create economic benefits across Colorado.

“Solar thermal systems address the biggest energy load in our state: space heating and hot water heating. The [campaign’s] comprehensive objective is a big step forward in our state’s new energy strategy,” said Laurent Meillon, vice president of Capitol Solar Energy, a Castle Rock-based solar thermal business.

Colorado’s Million Solar Roofs campaign outlined state policies that must be implemented or expanded to meet the goal, McCall said. One of the most important is net metering, a policy that requires investor-owned utilities to credit customers who invest in solar panels for the excess electricity they supply the electrical grid at the retail rate.

Xcel Energy has proposed to cutting its net metering rate in half, which would mean that homeowners and businesses would receive a reduced credit for the solar energy they sell back to the grid, the news release said. Xcel has also asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to declare net metering a subsidy.

 

3 Responses to Campaign sets goal for 1 million solar roofs

  1. While renewable energy is the right thing to do and the right way to go the government needs to be very careful how they implement any renewable energy strategy. Whatever solution they come up with that includes renewable energy (RE) that solution needs to exclude NABCEP screening and testing. Nationwide NABCEP is undermining any potential contribution the renewable energy industry might make to our economy by excluding potential workers. NABCEP dictates that no one may work in the RE industry unless they are NABCEP certified. NABCEP then profits by charging potential RE workers seriously high fees for training, testing and certification. NABCEP suggests that RE workers must pay them money before they can join an industry that basically harvests sunlight. NABCEP requirements are an unethical and unreasonable demand on the unemployed and those who would benefit from gainful employment in the renewable energy sector. In this regard, NABCEP makes much more of a contribution to the national unemployment rate. Hopefully Colorado will adopt an aggressive renewable energy strategy. The greater hope is that strategy will dictate NABCEP will have no influence on us.

    Steven Shepard
    December 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm

  2. My Concern is that the Utilities are already positioning themselves for this and the advantages of solar will be wiped away by rate increases. If a utility increases rates to offset loses in revenue from solar then no saving will be realized even though the energy source will be clean. In order for this to work states must approve net-metering buy rates at the same rate that they sell power to us, especially in places like the springs where the people own the utility. For Profit Companies should have Like Excel should have to buy it back and no less than what they pay for their wholesale power.

    Roger Duncan
    December 4, 2013 at 6:34 pm

  3. Utilities are required by law to produce a certain percentage of their power from renewable energy (http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=CO24R). Providing rebates and net-metering rates above the production cost from coal-fired power plants is one way to meet that requirement. The utilities are still saving money by having individuals pay for installation of the panels. All the people that pay their regular utility bills are subsidizing the long-term benefits of cleaner air. Win-Win-Win.

    Nathan Kettner
    December 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm