Xcel (XEL) Reduces Solar Rewards Payments

Xcel has reduced the amount paid to consumers and businesses who install solar power systems under its Solar Rewards program. Previously under the program, Xcel would provide a rebate to the consumer for the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (REC’s) of $2.50 per KW. That amount has changed to $1.50 per KW.  Customers still get a state-mandated rebate of $2.00 per KW, so the total amount they receive has decreased 22%, from 4.50 per KW to 3.50 per KW.

Xcel made the change because of the way the tax credit structure for solar power systems changed in the bailout bill. Under the old system, credits were capped at $2,000. Now they are simply 30% of the cost of the system. However, according to the Denver Business Journal, they only gave about 30 hours notice. Since Xcel’s change takes effect immediately and the new tax credit system doesn’t start until January, some solar power companies in Colorado are concerned.  The Denver Business Journal quotes solar power installer Blake Jones as saying

“A lot of CoSEIA members are concerned that now that [Xcel’s] rebate level has been dropped that customers won’t want to be talking about a solar system in the next few months,” Jones said. “We think it will take a while for the market to recover from that, and if there’s a hiccup in the market like that, there could be a lot of installers without enough work to get them through the next few months.”

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