If you're in Western Colorado, you now have the option of picking up your meds at the region's first solar-powered pharmacy.
Colorado's commitment to clean energy may soon be second only to California's. Late on Friday, the Colorado Senate passed a bill that would increase the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30 percent by 2020--California's RPS is a neck ahead at 33 percent. Governor Bill Ritter is expected to sign the bill if/when the House passes it through with some small changes. This would boost Colorado solar tremendously.
Colorado's state Congress may have an interesting bit of legislation before them this session: a bill that would allow solar panels installed in community gardens to qualify for the solar rebates currently available through Xcel Energy. The brainchild of State Rep Claire Levy (D-Boulder), the bill would allow multiple people to buy into an off-site solar installation and, like shareholders, all receive a portion of the benefits of the solar energy, from installation cost reductions to any net-metering credits for excess electric generation. Levy told the Daily Camera that:
For Xcel Energy customers in Colorado, installing solar panels on their home is made more affordable with a $2/watt rebate offered through the utility. Still, the up-front costs of solar can range into the tens of thousands, and even if the system has a sweet payback period, that may be more than some folks can finance outright. This is why Governor Bill Ritter approved a law this year to allow solar leasing: with a solar lease, a third party pays for the solar installation, while the homeowner makes one monthly payment to that third party to cover both electricity costs and lease payments on the new solar panels.
Last week, Adam talked about Xcel Energy's plans for a new monthly fee on Colorado solar panel owners' electric bills. The public outcry has been significant, and yesterday, Xcel announced they were dropping the proposed fee. After the news broke, Adam updated his post; and now here's a closer look at this interesting conflict. Just because Xcel is the first utility to propose such a fee doesn't mean it will be the last, and the issues at hand are at the heart of making solar a viable long-term prospect for Americans.