In mid-February, the future of solar energy in Colorado appeared to be dimming: Xcel Energy announced it would discontinue incentives to customers  wanting to install solar panels, igniting a flare-up from businesses and advocates who argued the move could kill the industry locally. A month later, Xcel agreed to a gradual phaseout instead (Denver Post ). And now, the state's solar economy is getting a big boost from GE, which announced it would pay $600 million for Arvada-based PrimeStar, one of three major thin-film solar manufacturers based in Colorado (Denver Business Journal ).
But solar has a long way to go before it becomes a widely dependable energy source, and its next major battle could also play out here, as conservationists challenge a plan by the Obama administration on where to designate Solar Energy Zones (Independent ). Regardless of location, further jobs seem destined for the state, which already claims the nation's third-highest rate of employment in the wind-energy sector (Gazette ).