colorado leads the way to community solar - NASUCA

colorado leads the way to community solar - NASUCA

COLORADO LEADS THE WAY TO COMMUNITY SOLAR NASUCA Mid-Year Meeting Distributed Energy Resources Committee Panel June 8, 2015 Philadelphia, PA Cindy Sch...

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COLORADO LEADS THE WAY TO COMMUNITY SOLAR NASUCA Mid-Year Meeting Distributed Energy Resources Committee Panel June 8, 2015 Philadelphia, PA Cindy Schonhaut Director, Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel

COLORADO HISTORY OF SHARED SOLAR • 2009 - first shared solar system came online o United Power • Rural electric co-op serving 67,000 • First utility to create a solar garden with 48 panels • Added 48 more panels in 2010

• Gov. Bill Ritter signed law in 2010 creating community solar power systems throughout state C.R.S. 40-2-127 o First state with legislation o Implemented in 2012 o Basically created community solar industry o Required community solar for IOUs which allowed innovative business models o Set-aside for low income customers is 5% o Many states have since used Colorado’s legislation as a model

• Recent legislative action o Eliminated a geographic restriction • Subscriber must be in county in which community solar garden is located OR ADJACENT COUNTY

COLORADO HISTORY OF SHARED SOLAR • Xcel Energy (Colorado’s largest IOU) in 2012 and 2013 o Over 40 projects built or in development; now generating about 28MW • Systems range from 500 kW to 2 MW o Incentives through Solar*Rewards Program o Capacity currently limited to 30 MW

• At least 12 Colorado utilities have sponsored projects • Colorado co-ops and municipals have been leaders as well, completing projects even before law was passed o Multiple Colorado co-ops have gone on to build second or even third projects

• A 1 MW project can typically serve 200-300 customers, meaning thousands of Coloradans have community solar now

STATE-WIDE MARKET • 30% renewables by 2020 – statutory standard • Community solar industry says market for their product is 7 times that of rooftop solar • Colorado PUC called for expansion of community solar capacity in 2015/2016 renewable energy plans • Two main community solar providers o o

Clean Energy Collective (CEC) • Customers purchase panels; CEC maintains Sunshare • Customers can pay up-front for panels or per kWh used over time • 20-year contract

• Colorado community solar companies have grown quickly with the market, creating jobs and expanding nationwide • Customers get all the subsidies o o

30% Federal tax credit (for now) Utility incentive (approved by PUC)


Capacity o o o

Incentives o

Net metering

Net metering credit o o o


Competitive bids now down to close to zero

Subsidies o

Initial cap of 6 MW set by legislature for first 3 years Xcel (largest IOU) now has 30 MW cap set by PUC Unless capacity is limited, will not have competitive market

Now at full retail rate Under PUC review Other states: • 44 states have basic net metering • 17 states have aggregate net metering • 11 states have virtual net metering Utility incentives

Restrictions o o

Geographic Size of community solar garden


Expansion of programs NREL estimates (April 2015) o At least 49% of US households and 48% of businesses do not have solarsuitable rooftops • Many say number should be as high as 75% o By 2020, shared solar could represent 32% to 49% of distributed solar market o Cumulative growth: from 5.5 GW in 2015 to 11 GW in 2020 o Represents $8.2 to $16.3 billion in investment (September 2014)