Xcel Energy and community solar power developers reached an agreement that will allow them to add up to 60 megawatts of community solar in the state throughout 2016. The agreement means more of Colorado’s residents and businesses will have access to solar power even if they can’t install it on their own roofs.
The proposed changes should help spread the adoption of community solar in that state that first made such arrangements legal. In a community solar garden, instead of locating solar panels on rooftops, utility customers can purchase or lease solar panels that are part of a larger solar garden and use the electricity generated to offset their use of grid-supplied electricity. It’s kind of like a farm-share delivery service, but for electricity.
Under the agreement, which was filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Clean Energy Collective, Community Energy Inc. and SunShare will be able to propose solar gardens to Xcel energy. “The agreement also revises the bill credit for commercial/industrial rate classes, adds co-location specifications, and adds an Xcel Energy carve-out for low-income households and non-profits,” Clean Energy Collective said.
“We are pleased to have worked closely with Xcel Energy to help ensure the Solar*Rewards Community program is a win for everyone,” said Paul Spencer, founder and CEO of Clean Energy Collective. “This process demonstrates how successful collaboration between utilities and the solar industry can lead to more choice for customers, and good business for both the utility and their solar partners.”
The agreement must still be approved by the utility commission. Under the proposed agreement Xcel will acquire between 6.5 megawatts and 30 megawatts of community solar capacity through Solar*Rewards Community Program for the 2014 allotment and 2016 allotment and will seek to add the maximum for each of the years. It also adopts language for the 2016 request for proposals (RFP) that specifies distance and capacity parameters for co-locating multiple community solar facilities, Clean Energy Collective said. Under 2015’s RFP for community solar, such developers may elect to receive a $0.03/kilowatt hour renewable energy credit if customer bill credits are also calculated on a class-average basis.
Under the proposed agreement, Xcel Energy could own up to 4 megawatts of community solar capacity to serve low-income customers and non-profits.Tweet