The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) welcomes newly introduced legislation in the US Senate to promote customer choice and the development of the community solar market nationwide. The Community Solar Consumer Choice Act of 2017 (S. 1670) was introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) on Thursday, July 27, 2017 in the U.S. Senate to coincide with the First Annual CCSA Community Solar Summit, held in Denver last week with over 200 industry representatives.
The new legislation makes permanent an existing US Department of Energy program that promotes community solar by providing technical assistance at the request of state and local governments, and includes specific provisions focused on boosting community solar in low-income communities. The bill also encourages federal government participation in community solar nationwide.
Bill sponsor Senator Bennet published an op-ed on the bill hailing its introduction and highlighting community solar’s origins in Colorado, and importance for the country, writing on Medium that “Community solar is one of the most promising developments in renewable energy.”
“Clean Energy Collective pioneered the community solar business model in 2009, and has grown to employ over 100 workers out of our Louisville, Colorado headquarters, with hundreds more engineers and skilled laborers constructing and operating our projects across the country,” said Paul Spencer, CEO of Clean Energy Collective, one of the nation’s largest community solar providers. “We see firsthand the benefits these local clean energy projects bring to communities, consumers, and the electric grid, and it is our mission to make affordable community solar an option for everyone who wants it.”
CCSA continues to work to expand consumer choice and access to solar in states across the country. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have community solar programs in place, and the standing-room only CCSA Community Solar Summit and accompanying Senate legislation and Op-Ed demonstrate the excitement and opportunity around community solar as more and more states develop and implement new programs.
“Community solar provides win-wins for consumers: savings on their electric bill, and the knowledge that they’re supporting local, safe, reliable, clean power generation for the grid,” added Cramer.