Innovative ownership model would open solar up to previously-alienated renters and homeowners.
Colorado State Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder) is planning on introducing a bill this session that would legalize community “solar gardens”, allowing renters, condo owners, or people who live in otherwise unsuitable locations for solar, to take advantage of local solar incentives and take part in the burgeoning residential solar industry.
The bill would allow people to buy into a solar array not on their property and receive credits from the state's largest utility, Xcel Energy, for the resulting electricity. As it stands currently, homeowners must install solar systems on their own property to qualify for rebates.
"The intent of (the bill) is so people can have the benefit of what they would get if they had solar panels on their rooftops,” Levy told the Boulder Daily Camera. “It’s for people who are renters, who live in condominium projects and don’t have rooftops, people whose lots are shaded, people whose houses aren’t the right orientation — a whole variety of things.”
The idea for the bill came from stricter green building standards in Boulder that requires many new buildings to generate some portion of their own renewable energy. "The idea is that if somebody cannot meet the renewable energy requirements on site, and if there are solar gardens available within Boulder County, that they would be able to put their renewables at the solar gardens as a way of meeting the requirement," Commissioner Will Toor said.
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