The Colorado Public Utilities Commission has cast its vote in favor of Xcel Energy’s ambitious “Colorado Energy Plan” that will cut the company’s CO2 emissions by 60 percent and increase the share of renewable sources in its energy mix to 55 percent by 2026.
In addition to reducing its environmental footprint, the plan will also save Xcel Energy’s customers about $213 million over this period.
Colorado’s low-income households are being encouraged by their local energy assistance agencies to consider installing solar panels. Using solar power solves two problems at once: a) it reduces GHG emissions which is good for everyone; and b) it brings down the electricity bills of low-income families.
Three national nonprofit organizations recently partnered to create an online resource that examines solar industry programs and policies as they relate to low-income American families.
The three nonprofits — the New York-based Center for Social Inclusion, California-based GRID Alternatives and California-based Vote Solar — launched the “Low-Income Solar Policy Guide” on March 14 during an event in Manhattan.
Minnesota-based Xcel Energy, one of Colorado’s largest power providers, announced Tuesday that it has reached a settlement with community solar developers and plans to work with them to add another 60 megawatts of community solar power to the state’s grid.
It’s not exactly Earth-shattering news that states with more progressive solar policies have more solar energy capacity than states that don’t. But there are a few correlations between solar policy and economic health that might be worth noting.
Environment America released a report on solar policy and solar capacity this week titled Lighting the Way: The top 10 states that helped drive America’s solar energy boom in 2013.
Solar gardens are an increasingly popular way to allow people to own solar when they otherwise couldn’t for various reasons. However, solar gardens are still nascent, and in many places, like Colorado, the rules and laws behind are still being developed.
Last year, Colorado passed the Community Solar Garden bill (HB 10-1342), which was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter (D).
Reducing energy use before making an investment in clean energy production is a common trend among resorts.
Vail is doing the same, said Luke Cartin, Vail environmental affairs manager. Vail owns and operates six ski resorts, four in Colorado and two in the Lake Tahoe, Calif., area.
Vail aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 10 percent, Cartin said. The company made the pledge two years ago and has so far reduced its energy consumption by 7.3 percent, he said.
“Let’s get as efficient as we can and then we’ll talk about what’s next,” Cartin said.
According to the Missouri University of Science and Technology’s website, solar energy of the future may be more efficient thanks to Dr Jonathan Kimball, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.