DENVER— A bill requiring Colorado utilities to use more renewable energy,
including smaller-scale solar projects, is now law. Gov. Bill Ritter
signed it Monday at a solar installation company based in Denver.
Utilities must now get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by
2020. The bill increases that to 30 percent over the same time, a standard
just below California’s 33 percent requirement. Most other states with
renewable energy standards are in the 20 percent range.
The bill requires that 3 percent of a utility’s power sales be spent on
power from solar installations at homes and businesses. That’s aimed at
creating more business for Colorado’s estimated 230 small solar
Opponents said annual assessments based on information from the U.S.
Department of Energy and the U.S. Census Bureau say American families are
spending 20 percent or more of total income to cover energy expenses, with
a significant impact on low-income families.
In 2009, Colorado households with annual incomes below $50,000 spent an
average of 15 percent of their after-tax income on energy.