The Coalition for Community Solar Access honors four legislators and a storied renewable energy advocate for dedication to improving Colorado’s Community Solar Program
Denver, CO (October 3, 2023) — The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is marking a year of significant growth and momentum for community solar by recognizing individuals and organizations for their dedication to supporting and expanding community solar programs.
In Colorado, State Representatives Meghan Lukens and Alex Valdez, State Senators Chris Hansen and Dylan Roberts, and long-time renewable energy advocate Kacie Peters have been selected as recipients of the 2023 Community Solar Champion Awards among a nationwide group of 22 champions that includes state legislators, environmental and sustainability advocates, labor leaders, advocates for disadvantaged communities, and farmers and agricultural groups.
Reps. Lukens and Valdez both sponsored HB23-1137 that updates Colorado’s community solar billing credit model, allowing for millions of Coloradans to save on their energy bills.
Under previous law, community solar subscribers received a bill credit that varies annually. With this new law, community solar developers can choose to either lock in a net metering credit rate at time of securing program capacity or to have a variable rate, both of which are determined annually by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Additionally, the new law ensures that variable rate subscribers pay into public benefit riders that are used to fund vital state programs, such as low-income bill assistance and clean energy technology programs.
Before his time as a state representative, Valdez started a solar business from the ground up. He has been heavily involved in renewable energy advocacy in Colorado, and has supported local solar initiatives across multiple pieces of legislation. Valdez is currently the chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.
State Sen. Chris Hansen, who has won the Community Solar Champion award before, specializes in energy sector economics. He is the Co-Founder and Director of Programming at the Colorado Energy & Water Institute, and Co-Founder of the Colorado Science and Engineering Policy Fellowship.
State Sen. Dylan Roberts is the chair of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee, and has worked with decision makers in both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to benefit Colorado’s rural communities. Both Sens. Hansen and Roberts sponsored the new legislation in the Colorado Senate.
Throughout her career in the solar industry, and most recently with Pivot Energy, Kacie Peters actively fostered connections and a sense of community within the sector, in addition to inspiring and guiding others to pursue careers and initiatives in clean energy. Sadly, Kacie Peters passed away in August of 2023. Her family’s story and GoFundMe page can be found here.
The renewable energy community has come together to celebrate the remarkable legacy of Kacie Peters, a dedicated advocate for clean energy and sustainability, by introducing the inaugural Kacie Peters Impact Award. Going forward, this prestigious accolade will honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the clean energy sector, embodying the values and dedication that Kacie Peters exemplified throughout her incredible career. The award is generously supported by Pivot Energy, the Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA), CCSA, and other dedicated industry professionals.
The Kacie Peters Impact Award is more than just an accolade; it’s a tribute to Kacie’s enduring spirit and a commitment to continue the work she started.
“Our Colorado Community Solar Champions share an extraordinary vision to better the world through renewable energy and ensure the energy transition is as equitable as possible,” said CCSA Mountain West Senior Director Kevin Cray. “We also hope our Champions award will play a small part in honoring Kacie’s legacy and passion for clean energy — and that others will follow her lead to create a more sustainable future.”
Through community solar, customers can enjoy equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar generation by subscribing to small local solar arrays. They then receive a credit on their utility bill for their share of the power that is produced, just as if the panels were on their own roof.
An estimated two-thirds of American households do not have access to solar power because they either rent, live in a multi-tenant building or have roofs unable to host a solar system.
There are currently 18 states plus the District of Columbia with policies in place that permit third-party, competitive community solar with multiple states advancing legislation to enable new programs.
About the Coalition for Community Solar Access
The Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) is a national trade association representing over 120 community solar developers, businesses, and nonprofits. Together, we are building the electric grid of the future where every customer has the freedom to support the generation of clean, local solar energy to power their lives. Through legislative and regulatory advocacy, and the support of a diverse coalition — including advocates for competition, clean energy, ratepayers, landowners, farmers, and environmental justice — we enable policies that unlock the potential of distributed energy resources, starting with community solar. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Twitter (X), LinkedIn, and YouTube.