Xcel Energy Begins Solar Rebate Program

March 02, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Xcel Energy is giving incentives to Colorado customers to install solar panels outside their homes and businesses. Colorado customers can now apply for the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards program on the company's Web site.

The Xcel Energy Solar Rewards program is one result of the passage of Amendment 37, and the company will implement the Renewable Energy Standard (RES) Adjustment to fund rebates for customers who install solar photovoltaic systems. To pay for the program initially, residential customers will see an average increase in their monthly bills of 35 cents, while commercial customers will pay an average of 69 cents more per month.

"The company plans to aggressively market the Xcel Energy Solar Rewards program to bring in new customers who want to be involved in developing a clean, renewable-energy technology," said Fred Stoffel, vice president for policy development. "With an annual average of 300 sunny days in Colorado, the opportunity for this solar program to be successful is tremendous."

Xcel Energy will rebate customers $2 per watt of solar panels installed on customer premises, up to 10,000 watts (or 10 kilowatts). Also as part of the program, the company will purchase Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by customer systems for $2.50 per watt. These credits then will be counted toward the company's RES requirements under Amendment 37. The combination of the rebates and the credits will generate a total return to customers of $4.50 per watt.

A common size for residential photovoltaic systems in Colorado is 2-3 kilowatts, and total payments to customers for this size would be in the $9,000 to $13,500 range. This would cover approximately half the installation cost, since typical photovoltaic systems are priced at $8,000 to $10,000 per kilowatt.