Renewable energy advocates, businesses and environmental groups, including the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative, have joined together to urge the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to reject a new proposal from Xcel Energy that they say would discourage rooftop solar growth in its territory.
Issued on July 24 as part of Xcel's 2014 Renewable Energy Standard compliance plan is a request for the CPUC to identify clearly the incentives provided to solar customers associated with net energy metering (NEM). The utility says NEM incentives ultimately are paid by non-solar customers.
According to Vote Solar, Xcel is using a ‘flawed study’ as the basis of its request, which amounts to ‘backroom tactics.’Â
‘While we understand that rooftop solar represents a change from the utility's traditional way of doing business, this proposal is a non-starter for a needed conversation about the future of rooftop solar in Colorado,’ says Annie Lappe, solar policy director at Vote Solar, in a statement.
‘Net metering is key to reaching Colorado's Million Solar Roofs goal and has been a huge component to helping Colorado families and businesses afford to go solar,’ says Edward Stern, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. ‘If we're going to have a conversation about net metering, we need to make sure we're using good, updated, accurate information.’
NEM is shaping up as a major bone of contention between utilities and solar sector advocates. A July 11 proposal submitted by the Arizona Public Service Corp. to state regulators calling for residential solar fees and a re-evaluation of NEM incentives produced a strong backlash.