Xcel Energy - Solar*Rewards Community Program

Program Xcel Energy - Solar*Rewards Community Program
Category Financial Incentive
Implementing sector Utility
Last Update
State Colorado
Administrator Xcel Energy
Website http://www.xcelenergy.com/Programs_and_Rebates/Residential_Programs_and_Rebates…
Budget 6.5 MW - 30 MW of projects per year for 2014-2016
Start Date
Technologies Solar Photovoltaics
Sectors Residential

Note: In December 2014, the Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy to acquire between 6.5 MW and 30 MW per year through the Solar*Rewards Community Program in 2014-2016. Xcel Energy is currently soliciting bids through a 2016 RFP to develop projects up to 2 MW . Submissions are due April 4.

Legislation approved in 2010 allowed for the development of "community solar gardens" in Colorado. Under the rules of traditional net metering, a utility customer may offset their electricity consumption with electricity produced by a renewable energy system located on their property. Community solar gardens allow for multiple utility customers to purchase or lease interests in a single photovoltaic (PV) system not located on their property, and to have the electricity produced by their share of the system offset the electricity consumption of their home or business.

Xcel Energy's Solar*Rewards Community Program provides incentives to stimulate the development of community solar gardens in its service territory. Of the total megawatts (MW) of projects dedicated to Solar*Rewards Community annually, a portion will be allocated to standard offers of 500 kilowatts (kW) or less. The remaining MW will be dedicated to the large request for proposal (RFP) program for large (greater than 500 kW) systems, for competitive project development. In 2012-2013, 19 solar gardens were approved though the Standard Offer program and 6 through a RFP program.

Xcel offers an incentive for the renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with the electricity produced by the system. Xcel purchases RECs awarded to the subscriber organization which develops the project at a price specified in the developer's bid. Subscribing customers will receive bill credits for the amount of electricity produced by their share of the larger system, but will not receive the REC payments.

Community solar gardens must have at least 10 customer subscribers to qualify for this program. The minimum subscription size is 1 kW. No one subscriber can own an interest in more than 40% of a single project. Further, subscribing customers are limited to subscriptions that will produce no more than 120% of their annual electric usage. Subscribers must be Xcel Energy electric customers, and must reside in the same county as the solar garden unless the county has less than 20,000 residents.

At least 5% of the allocation must be attributed to income-qualified subscribers. Customers that are a member of Energy Outreach Colorado, The Atmosphere Conservancy, the Colorado LEAP Program, or a Municipal Housing Authority qualify as low income. Customers must complete a Low Income Verification Form signed by a representative of the relevant organization. Low-income customers do not face the 1 kW minimum subscription level.

Additional rules apply. See website above for complete details.

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