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Report: Renewable Energy Bill Could Spark 20,000 New Jobs in Colorado

A new report commissioned by Vote Solar and Environment Colorado claims a proposed bill could create over 20,000 new energy-sector related jobs over the next decade.

The "Investing in the Sun" report details the economic and environmental benefits of increased adoption of solar electricity across the residential and business segments and comes at a time when state lawmakers are debating HB10-1001, a bill that would mandate investor-owned utility companies to boost their use of distributed renewable energy projects such as solar

"Solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than any other energy resource. This study was intended to shine a spotlight on the real and immediate economic development opportunity Colorado could realize if a stronger statewide solar requirement were enacted," said Annie Carmichael, Vote Solar's policy lead for Colorado, said in a press statement.

"Investing in the Sun" claims the legislation, which would drive use of 1,000 megawatts of distributed solar energy, could provide a slew of benefits beyond new jobs including reliable homegrown power for 146,000 homes, $4.3 billion in economic output and save 6.8 billion gallons of water

"We can be the best in the West by rolling up our sleeves and putting Coloradans to work building tens of thousands of solar rooftops on homes, stores, and office buildings across the state," said Pam Kiely, program director at Environment Colorado, in a press statement. "Going solar is smart economic strategy, and a critical environmental solution-- and HB 1001 puts us squarely on track to get there."

The proposed legislation would also increase the overall Renewable Energy Standard to 30 percent by 2020, in addition to setting the requirement that 3 percent of total electricity sales come from "distributed generation" systems such as solar.

Vote Solar and Environment Colorado used the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, as well as inputs and assumptions drawn from real-world experience of local Colorado solar energy system installers to develop the full report.

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