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Public Utilities Commission Encourage Renewable Energy Generation

Concerning measures to increase the deployment of renewable energy generation facilities to meet Colorado's energy needs, and, in connection therewith, raising the allowable capacity of customer-sited renewable energy generation facilities, giving customers additional options for increasing the scale and flexibility of new installations, and making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

Section 1 of the bill declares that customer-sited renewable energy generation facilities (distributed generation) such as rooftop solar panels, together with increased storage capacity and enhanced master meter operations, can make important contributions toward meeting Colorado's declared goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions while providing a reliable, adaptable supply of electricity for homes, businesses, and the rapidly increasing numbers of electric vehicles.Sections 3 and 5 remove most of the existing limitations on the size of distributed generation facilities, which currently cannot exceed 120% of a customer's historical annual usage, to qualify for renewable energy credits. Section 3 also expands an existing exemption from regulation as a public utility to include persons who sell excess power from distributed generation located anywhere on their property or on property owned or leased by others in a master meter operation, e.g., an apartment building or mobile home park. Section 4 grants master meter operators (MMOs) that sell power from distributed generation a limited exemption from the general requirement not to charge their end users any amount above what they are billed for electricity supplied by the serving electric utility. MMOs may retain refunds, rebates, rate reductions, net metering credits, and similar reductions offered by the serving utility in its net metering program. but may not charge end users at a rate higher than the serving utility's otherwise applicable rate for that class of utility customer. The public utilities commission (PUC) is directed to adopt rules encouraging landlords and tenants in multi-unit buildings to share in the costs and benefits of installing new distributed generation facilities.

Section 5 requires a qualifying retail utility to allow, and to adopt standards for the approval of, customer-owned meter collar adapters in residential installations. The public utilities commission (PUC) PUC retains authority to resolve any disputes concerning the standards or their application in specific cases. Section 2 defines a meter collar adapter as a device installed between the electric meter and the meter socket box that allows the customer to interconnect power from on-site sources.

Section 5 also:

  • Replaces the term "standard rebate offer" with "net metering service" where appropriate, to more accurately reflect current practice;
  • Requires qualifying retail utilities, under the standard offer to purchase renewable energy credits their net metering service , to purchase energy produced from any renewable energy resources rather than exclusively solar energy resources;
  • Doubles the allowable size of eligible on-site renewable energy installations under the standard offer, from 500 kilowatts to one megawatt;
  • Narrows the requirements for small hydroelectric facilities that qualify as renewable energy resources to exclude those that require the construction of new dams or reservoirs;
  • Adds renewable energy storage as an eligible energy resource under the renewable energy standard and defines "renewable energy storage" as a facility that stores energy that is derived only from renewable energy resources;
  • Allows a customer to carry forward monthly bill credits from distributed generation indefinitely, at any service address within a qualifying retail utility's service territory, unless the customer chooses to be reimbursed annually; and
  • Directs the PUC to adopt rules to accommodate the aggregation and interconnection of retail distributed generation, including the pooling of renewable energy resources under a master meter or similar arrangement and the allocation of credits among customers on different rate schedules.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


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Bill Text