Earlier this week, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) invited the public to comment on Xcel’s proposal to rollback net metering. And boy did the public respond! Almost 100 solar supporters showed up, filling both PUC hearing rooms and over-flowing into the halls. The crowd was a diverse mix – ranchers, teachers, moms – but the message was consistent: Coloradans overwhelmingly support protecting policies that are making rooftop solar more affordable and accessible to Coloradans. The commenters were articulate and passionate, noting that rooftop solar makes the grid stronger, gives consumers control over their energy futures, helps our state diversify its economy and safeguard its environment. These impassioned rooftop solar supporters outnumbered the few detractors 16 to 1.
As we recently reported, thanks to this kind of strong public engagement, state regulators have agreed to pull Xcel’s attacks on net metering out of the utility’s Renewable Energy Standard compliance plan and conduct a new, separate process to take a good look at this critically important solar program. While this is good progress, the fight certainly isn’t over. Yesterday’s public comment session was an opportunity for the public to let the Commission know that they want a transparent and inclusive process that fairly values the benefits of rooftop solar. Public participation couldn’t be more important given that Xcel Energy has already filed comments asking for a process that limits meaningful stakeholder engagement and puts Xcel right back in the driver’s seat.
If you live in Colorado and couldn’t make it out to the public comment session, it’s still not to late to speak up in support of a fair and transparent process for evaluating rooftop solar. Click here to let your Commissioners know that you are paying attention to this issue. We can’t let Xcel hold all of the cards when it comes to charting the path forward for Colorado’s clean energy.
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.