Xcel Energy Pulls Plug On Solar Rebates & Incentives
What going on?
State law provides for incentives and rebates on the installation of solar-energy equipment to meet renewable-energy mandates. The law allows Xcel to establish the level of incentives; the amount of rebates is set separately by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. As of 1:30 PM Wednesdays February 23rd. Xcel Energy has temporarily suspended the processing of rebate applications through the Solar Rewards program. Until then Xcel Energy isn't even accepting any new interconnection agreements to attach solar systems to their grid. Ultimately they are waiting on the approval of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on a new, much lower incentive / rebate program. The primary issue with Xcel’s recent request is that it appears to be unilaterally advantageous, the numbers used in their request are very inaccurate and the new rates requested would cause the solar industry in CO to fall flat on its face, potentially costing the state thousands of jobs.
What Are Others Saying?
Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association ( CoSeia ) says Xcel is trying to destabilize the market for clean energy, "to protect its own monopoly... without stakeholder input or due process, reducing choices for consumers and putting thousands of jobs at risk".
"This is absolutely devastating to the solar industry," said Neal Lurie, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. "No industry can survive this kind of shock."
Lurie said the subsidy cutback endangers the sector's growth, which has seen Colorado solar-energy jobs increase from 500 to 5,300 since the incentive program started in 2006.
The move by Xcel comes on the heels of the Pueblo area utility, Black Hills Energy, suspending its solar program last October, also without any advanced notice to the solar industry.
Solar-industry officials estimated that typical residential systems now costing $5,000 to $12,000 could rise to $8,000 to $16,000 after the reduced incentives and rebates.
How Will This Effect Solar Companies?
Syndicated Solar’s business model has always included nation-wide development, so we are one of the fortunate ones able to lean on business in other parts of the country. This could have a potential negative effect across the entire nation however, if Xcel’s request is passed and they are able to further control the industry and pertinent policy, then it could give other utilities inspiration to follow Xcel’s footsteps, which inevitably adds to the utility companies bottom line. If the PUC responsibly decreases the Solar Rewards rebate amounts, and takes control out of the program out of Xcel’s hands then many solar related companies, will flourish in Colorado, and a renewable energy revolution will spur the economic recovery statewide.
What Is Syndicated Solar Doing To Help The Situation?
We will be keeping a close eye on this development and the Solar Gardens program to follow in the coming weeks. In the meantime feel free to contact Syndicated Solar directly with any questions or comments. Please Subscribe to our blog to be notified of the outcome of Xcel's rebate restructuring.
Quote From Justin Pentelute CEO - Syndicated Solar
“It is to be expected that Xcel Energy is going to do everything in its power to keep a competing industry from becoming self-sustaining, solar electricity presents a threat to Xcel’s business and takes billable kWh’s off of their inventory, so to speak. So the most sensible thing to do first and foremost is take all administrative and regulatory over sight, pertaining to renewables, away from Xcel Energy and into the hands of an unbiased 3rd party, with rigorous accounting and reporting standards so the people know where their money is going; Solar electricity is very attainable and infinitely beneficial to our communities and the people, it is important that everyone does their part to learn about our energy economy so that we can all benefit by evolving our nation’s infrastructure, and break the monopolizing drags prohibiting the mass adoption of these great renewable technologies.”
“It is astounding to me how confused most individuals are with respect to solar in Colorado, such as:
- Xcel Energy hasn’t paid anything towards solar, all of the money used for the Solar Rewards program has come from the rate payers, 2% of your electric bills (renewable energy std) was voted into law by the rate payers, Xcel has been taking far too much credit.
- Xcel Energy is not green, nor do they want to be green, it is mandated that they diversify their sources of energy as their current portfolio has obvious detriments to our landscapes and environment.
- Xcel Energy does not ‘invest’ in anything for the people, as a regulated utility they pass the cost of ALL investments, upgrades, new energy sources, transmission rights, etc. to the rate payers, YOU! Plus, they are guaranteed a profit, so not only do they have ability to drive up your fixed costs without warning, but they are guaranteed a very healthy margin on top of it.
Transmission lines are obsolete and current electricity generation sources, such as coal and natural gas, are nearing their expired lives and while a minimal 2% rate cap on your power bill has been funding our solar development here in Colorado your bills have been escalating in the double digits year after year, that means compounding. As Xcel desires to build nuclear facilities, coal facilities, natural gas facilities, with negative environmental effects aside, these facilities consume, and through osmosis contaminate millions of gallons of water per day.
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