The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided to increase this year's capacity of Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards program for small-size solar installations throughout the state.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) have applauded the decision. In April, SEIA, COSEIA and Xcel Energy jointly proposed the capacity increase in order to avoid bumping up against the program's cap.
Solar Rewards offers customers incentives to install solar panels on their homes and businesses. As part of a compliance plan approved by CPUC in 2012, 9.6 MW of generating capacity was available to Xcel Energy residential customers in Colorado in each of the two years for systems of up to 10 kW each. The CPUC decision approves making 33.6 MW available for the program.
Prior to CPUC's decision, capacity in the small-size solar installation program had been fully subscribed. SEIA says that without commission approval to expand the capacity of the program, incentives for installation of systems of 10 kW or less would have been suspended statewide until at least 2014.
‘We thank the CPUC for making an expedient decision in support of Colorado's rapidly growing solar energy industry,’ says Sara Birmingham, director of western states at SEIA. ‘Expanding Solar Rewards will allow Colorado to maintain this leadership position by supporting small businesses and their growing workforce and promoting the deployment of even more clean, abundant solar energy throughout the state.’