Solar gardener Greg Ching weighs in on the brewing battle in Boulder.
(Full Letter Reposted)
Implementing Solar Gardens
O pponents of measures 2B and 2C cite the loss of community solar gardens. Xcel Energy's recent threat of eliminating solar rebate programs in Boulder adds to the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) that seems to permeate the arguments against measure 2B and 2C.
As an early proponent of community solar gardens, I strongly disagree. Furthermore, the Public Utilities Commission states quite clearly that Xcel cannot unilaterally prevent Boulder ratepayers from participating in solar rebate programs that all ratepayers contribute to.
The truth is that the Colorado Community Solar Gardens Act was signed into law in June 2010. Yet, a year and a half later we still do not have final rules with implementation specifics. Xcel Energy has dragged the Colorado PUC community solar gardens rules into review, rehearing and reconsideration -- the dreaded "Triple R."
I believe the City of Boulder can move much faster to implement community solar gardens than the PUC and investor-owned utilities like Xcel. Measures 2B and 2C offers hope that Boulder can "super-size" the solar rebate programs beyond Xcel's standard offerings. The Solar Gardens Institute I work at can suggest improvements to facilitate virtual groupings of rooftops as well as encourage greater adoption of commercial roofs for their residential customers.
I encourage Boulder voters to also elect candidates who are unafraid to vote yes on measures 2B and 2C. Just as in California's Proposition 16 campaign when Pacific Gas and Electric outspent local power advocates by a factor of 575, I am confident smart Boulder voters will follow the investor-owned utility money-trail and ignore the current 10-times opposition spending.
Chief Sustainability Officer,
The Solar Gardens Institute,
Joy Hughes, Founder, Solar Gardens Institute http://www.solargardens.org
CEO, Solar Panel Hosting LLC http://www.solarpanelhosting.com