Colorado enshrines energy storage as a right

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Short, but sweet.

pv magazine staff spends considerable time poring over the details of legislation such as the over 2,000-page omnibus spending bill approved last night. Which is why we appreciate legislation that gets right to the point. Senate bill 18-009, signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper yesterday, is an example of the latter.

Under the new bill, regulators will be prohibited from approving discriminatory rates or fees or unnecessarily restrictions on energy storage systems, as the bill declares that it is both a customer’s right to install such a system and in the public interest.

As part of this, the bill specifies that utilities shall not require the installation of customer-sited meters in addition to the single meter used for net-metered installations, although it leaves a possible exemption for “certain large energy storage systems”, under the discretion of regulators.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) notes that this bill makes Colorado one of the first states to declare that utility customers have a right to install energy storage, and SEIA’s interest in the new law shows the growing importance of energy storage to solar markets.

Pairing energy storage with solar will allow consumers to have the cleanest, most reliable and most affordable electricity,” reads a statement by SEIA VP of State Affairs Sean Gallagher. “The solar industry thanks Governor Hickenlooper and the Legislature for continuing to support the state’s solar market by taking this important step on storage.”

This can be seen as a proactive step by SEIA. There are many services that customer-sited energy storage has the technical ability to provide, including emergency power during blackouts. However, solar penetration in Colorado are still far from the levels where energy storage is needed to shift mid-day solar generation to meet evening demand, as is the case in California.