The world of solar is about to open up to a whole new group of Coloradans thanks to a bill that is on the way to the governor’s desk to be signed.
People with shady roofs, renters, condo owners and even folks with too-small roofs (or even no roofs, like farmers who want to offset their irrigation pumps) will soon be able to buy a share of solar panels that are installed in nearby “community solar gardens.”
People who buy into the gardens will get all the same benefits as people who slapped the PV panels directly on their roofs, which means they can get rebates and incentive payments as well as have the electricity produced by the solar panels credited directly to their energy bill.
Solar gardens could be sprouting as soon as next fall, according to the bill sponsor, Claire Levy, a Boulder Democrat.
Got a shady roof? Don’t even own your roof (condo owners, that means you)? Live in a cold and dark canyon? Are you a little short on south-facing roof real estate?
All of these predicaments make it hard to take advantage of solar power. And in Colorado, if you can’t put PV panels on your own property — then you can’t have PV panels at all. (So, quit coveting thy neighbor’s sunny roof.)
That’s right. It’s actually illegal for you (as of now) to go in 50-50 with a neighbor on a solar array that won’t be installed on your property. If you put up solar panels next door, you can’t take advantage of the rebates and incentives offered by your utility (which is probably Xcel Energy if you live in Boulder County). But here’s the real kicker: you also can’t take advantage of net-metering, which means that the electricity you produce won’t show up as a credit on your bill.
A state lawmaker from Boulder is trying to change that. Read more