Colorado heads into the future with solar power
Denver, CO— In an effort
to jumpstart the development of the solar power industry in Colorado
as mandated by the voter-approved Amendment 37 initiative last
November, Xcel Energy made an interim filing that would allow
the program to begin in earnest on January 1, 2006.
The filing with the Colorado
Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) sets forth the amount Xcel
Energy would charge all customers per month to fund the state’s
mandated Renewable Energy Standard (RES). It also establishes
the rebate amount as required by Amendment 37 that will be paid
to those who take part in the solar program.
The CPUC has until March 31,
2006, to establish rules and regulations for the RES in Colorado,
including solar power development.
“We need to begin the installation
of solar resources as quickly as possible, if Xcel Energy is to
meet the mandates approved by Colorado voters,” said Fred
Stoffel, Xcel Energy vice president for policy development.
Xcel Energy would charge customers
an additional 1 percent of their monthly electricity bill to support
the renewable energy mandates, through a proposed electricity
“rider” known as the Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment
(RESA). The Colorado General Assembly approved a charge up to
this amount earlier this year.
Based on projected electricity
bills as of January 1, 2006, typical residential customers would
pay an estimated $.59 a month and typical small-business customers
would pay an estimated $1.14 a month to support renewable energy
activity. Larger business and industrial customers also would
pay 1 percent of their total monthly bill. In total, Xcel Energy
would collect an estimated $22 million a year through RESA to
support the mandates.
A second component of the filing
addressed in part the total solar payment for customers who install
photovoltaic systems. The total solar payment would be $4.50 per
In its filing, Xcel Energy first
seeks to rebate customers $2 per watt installed on customer premises,
up to 10,000 watts (or 10 kilowatts, as 1 kilowatt equals 1,000
watts). Also as part of the program, the company would purchase
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by the customer’s
system, for $2.50 per watt. These credits then would be counted
toward the company’s RES requirements.
A common size for residential
photovoltaic systems in Colorado is 2-3 kilowatts, and payments
to customers at this size would be in the $9,000 to $13,500 range.
This would cover approximately half of the installation cost,
since typical photovoltaic systems are priced at $8,000 to $10,000
Under the initial program, customers
may install up to a 10-kilowatt system on their premises, for
a recovery of up to $45,000. For installations larger than 10
kilowatts, a future program is planned to provide for a competitive
solicitation, or bidding process.