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Colorado green energy infrastructure could see growth with Inflation Reduction Act

Solar panels
Posted at 9:11 PM, Aug 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-10 23:39:38-04

COLORADO — President Biden and Congressional Democrats are celebrating the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act over the weekend. Included in the bill is more than $300 billion in energy and climate spending.

It's the largest investment in climate action in our nation’s history, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40%. If passed by the House, Colorado will receive a portion of those funds for its own infrastructure.

Morey Wolfson with the Colorado Renewable Energy Society says the state could see a whole new workforce develop thanks to the investment, bringing more jobs to the state.

"There's just not that kind of a pool of experienced people in renewable energy. This is going to stimulate more and more people, young people in particular, coming in and learning," he said.

The Solar Energy Industries Association says the price of solar panels has been cut in half over the last ten years. The association's goal is to increase the state's total solar capacity by more than fifty percent over the next five years.

John Crandall owns the Old Town Bike Shop in Colorado Springs. Behind the shop, you'll find large solar panels, which were installed 15 years ago. Crandall said his business was the first to implement solar panels in Colorado Springs.

"Solar panels were becoming available, there were companies that were very capable and so the timing was just right to consider doing it," he said.

Colorado's infrastructure looked a lot different then and Crandall said the panels cost him $45,000 upfront. Today, the price would be about half of that.

After the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act by the Senate, Crandall said he hopes it encourages people to invest in renewable energy.

"It certainly has, potentially, doubled potential to actually save people money and encourage them to look beyond the normal status quo that they've lived with forever," he said.

Over the years, he said he has saved around $25,000 dollars in energy costs with the solar panels and hopes to see more use of solar energy in the future.

"It's been great to watch the progress and watch the public acceptance. Any additional use of solar is wonderful," he said.

As part of tackling climate change, the Inflation Reduction Act also includes tax credits for people buying electric vehicles. Families can get a credit of up to $7,500 after buying a new electric vehicle and up to $4,000 for used electric vehicles.

The House still has to vote on the Inflation Reduction Act. If passed, it will go to President Biden to be signed into law.
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