The Colorado Senate has passed H.B.1001, which increases the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 30% by 2020. Sponsored by State Sens. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass; and Bruce Whitehead, D-Hesperus; and State Rep. Max Tyler, D-Golden, the measure was approved by a vote of 21-13.
H.B.1001 also mandates that 3% of total electricity sales come from distributed-generation systems, such as distributed solar. These systems help drive local market activity, allow energy consumers to lower their electricity bills, and enable utilities to avoid costly investment in new transmission systems, according to Schwartz's office.
With a requirement that half of all solar projects developed by investor-owned utilities be located on rooftops or within the distribution network, H.B.1001 is expected to deploy 700 MW of this type of solar generation.
If that same requirement were expanded to include all state electricity producers, including municipal electric utilities and electric co-ops, Colorado could see a total of 1,000 MW of new rooftop solar power, notes Vote Solar.
According to Vote Solar's recent research report, 1,000 MW of solar deployment in Colorado would create more than 33,500 jobs for the state's renewable energy economy. It would also produce $4.3 billion in total economic output (direct, indirect and induced economic activity generated through the construction and maintenance of the solar projects).
The bill will now be returned to the House to concur with minor changes made by the Senate, according to the Denver Business Journal. If approved, it will then be sent to Gov. Bill Ritter, D-Colo., who is expected to sign it into law.