June 3, 2010

Solar rebates and benefits for all in Colorado

Gov. Bill Ritter signs HB 1342 into law at noon Saturday, June 25 on the top level of the parking garage at 15th and Pearl streets in Boulder.
“At SolarGardens.org, we see the Community Solar Gardens act as a step toward enabling everyone to own their own solar panels,” said Joy Hughes, founder of SolarGardens.org. “Even if you have shade on your roof or rent your house, you can subscribe to the sun, and if you move, your subscription moves with you.”
The bill will allow people to own solar panels that are not on their property.
Becoming part of a community solar garden brings clean, sustainable power to renters of homes, apartments or offices, condo owners, people with locations that are not ideal for solar panels or live in areas with homeowner associations that limit the number or location of panels.
A Community Solar Garden is at least 10 people, called subscribers, who own panels at a site.
HB 1342 directs the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to create rules that require public utilities to extend rebates and other offers available to homeowners who install photovoltaic panels to these groups.
One of the benefits for the utilities is more renewable power generated in areas where it is used and sold to the grid.
State Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, sponsored the bill in the House and State Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, sponsored it in the Senate.
U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-El Dorado Springs, is sponsoring a similar bill at the federal level, the Solar Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) Act.

For more information on Community Solar Gardens, visit www.solargardens.org.

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