Citizen-led coalition calling for 3 GW of solar power by 2030 in US state of Colorado

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More than 11,000 citizens and 280 local businesses have turned out in Denver, the capital of the state of Colorado, U.S., to urge local state officials to do more to support the installation of rooftop solar panels.

The coalition’s chief aim is to improves upon Colorado’s current PV capacity of 300 MW, and increase it ten-fold to 3 GW by 2030. To achieve this, the coalition argue, one million rooftops in the state should be fitted with solar panels.

"There is strong public support for expanding solar in Colorado," read a press release issued by Environment Colorado, a lobby group for solar and renewable energy. "We’ve made great strides on solar in Colorado, and the progress we’ve made to date should give us confidence that we can take it to the next level."

A number of environmental organizations, farmers, ranchers and local business owners have lent their backing to the movement, calling for even further action to help the state move to greener energy supplies.

Environment Colorado calculates that the installation of solar panels on one million rooftops would help the state cut 3.6 metric tons in carbon emissions each year, the equivalent of removing 760,000 cars from the roads.

There are economic benefits, too, with the Denver Business Journal estimating that Colorado’s solar power industry has already brought $1.42 billion to the state’s economy since 2007, creating more than 10,000 full-time jobs in the process.

Rebecca Cantwell, director of the Solar Friendly Communities program, believes that the environment aside, solar’s economic benefits are reason enough for the state to pursue even more growth in the sector.

"Solar energy is ready to play a major role in Colorado’s future," she said. "It creates jobs, strengthens local economies, cuts air pollution and conserves our precious water supplies."

A similar One Million Rooftops Campaign has also been launched in California. This citizen-led campaigning comes just weeks after official energy regulators in Arizona imposed a small monthly fee on solar rooftop consumers‘ bills. The $5 levy was seen as a victory for the solar industry, following intense campaigning from utilities to impose a much higher tariff.

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