In support of the use of agrivoltaics, which is the integration of solar energy generation facilities with agricultural activities, section 2 of the bill authorizes the agricultural drought and climate resilience office (office) to award grants for new or ongoing demonstration or research projects that demonstrate or study the use of agrivoltaics. On or before October 1, 2023, the office is required to convene a stakeholder group to advise on whether the office should impose any operational requirements for agrivoltaic projects that apply for grants.Section 4 authorizes the Colorado water conservation board (board) to finance a project to study the feasibility of using aquavoltaics, which are solar energy generation facilities placed over, or floating on, irrigation canals or reservoirs.Section 1 requires the director of the division of parks and wildlife to consult on the impacts on wildlife of:
- Any research projects for which the office awards money to study the use of agrivoltaics; and
- The project that the board finances to study the feasibility of using aquavoltaics in the state.
Section 5 amends the statutory definition of "solar energy facility", used in determining the valuation of public utilities for property tax purposes, to include agrivoltaics and aquavoltaics.Section 3 requires the commissioner of agriculture or the commissioner's designee (commissioner), in consultation with the Colorado energy office, the air quality control commission, and an institution of higher education with expertise in climate change mitigation, adaptation benefits, and other environmental benefits related to agricultural research, to examine greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration opportunities in the agricultural sector, including the use of dry digesters and the potential for creating and offering a certified greenhouse gas offset program and credit instruments in the agricultural sector.Section 3 requires the commissioner to submit a progress report on the study to the general assembly on or before October 1, 2024, and a final report, including any recommendations, on or before October 1, 2025.Section 3 also authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules to implement the recommendations, but requires that any greenhouse gas offset program or other greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration program or mechanism established in rule not mandate participation by agricultural producers.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)