Colorado Solar Customers Deliver $11 M in Annual Benefits to Xcel Energy Grid

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Today we released new analysis indicating that customer investment in solar energy systems currently in the Xcel service area deliver as much as $11 million in annual benefits to Colorado ratepayers. Those findings are in stark contrast to the utility’s own cost-benefit analysis that was submitted to regulators at the PUC earlier this month in what appears to be an early attempt to put the brakes on the rooftop solar growth. We are determined not to let bad math be used to target customer solar rights.

The fact of the matter is that private solar investment saves the rest of Xcel’s customers money in many ways. It reduces the need for the utility to build expensive conventional power plants and transmission infrastructure over time. It reduces the amount of electricity lost in the delivery process by generating power right where it’s needed. And it reduces the cost of meeting Colorado’s clean energy goals. In short, local solar energy delivers millions of dollars in financial benefits to the whole grid.

And that’s all before we account for the societal benefits of a growing local solar economy. Today, Colorado ranks 5th in the nation for the amount of solar power installed. 275 solar companies employ 3,600 Coloradans throughout the state.

Here are some more resources about the issue and today’s filing:

Fact sheet

Press release

Comments submitted to the PUC (for the true regulatory wonks out there)

Any conversation about net metering needs to use good, updated, accurate information that ensures a fair deal for the state’s solar customers. Xcel’s proposal fell well short of accounting for rooftop solar’s tremendous value to Colorado.

In the words of our partner, Nellis Kennedy-Howard from the Sierra Club: “Solar has become an affordable option for Colorado families, schools and businesses who want more control over their electricity supply and power bills. That is why we saw such a massive outpouring of opposition to the Xcel proposal. Xcel should be working with the PUC and stakeholders to support what the public wants and what’s good for the state’s economy and environment: more local solar power.”

Hear hear. Last month we asked Coloradans to speak up against Xcel Energy’s attempt to roll back net metering. To date an impressive 17,000 of you have joined that call for solar rights – let’s keep it coming! If you live in Colorado, click here to urge your Commission to keep solar shining.

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

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About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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