Colorado officials approve new solar incentive
The Colorado public utilities Commission announced on Thursday, May 24, it had approved a new solar incentive program that Xcel Energy will use instead of upfront cash rewards when residents' solar panel projects cost more than a few thousand dollars.
According to the Denver Post, the regulators also limited the number of solar installations that can be a part of the incentive program. The plan calls for total financial subsidies to be provided for up to 36 megawatts of power per year.
The current plan calls for cash rewards of $1 per watt, and also hands out 9 cents for each kilowatt any given solar installation generates. The new plan will allow subsidies for kilowatts generated to be flexible, but will not offer payment upfront.
Since 2006, Excel has given out $256 million in incentives for about 10,500 residential and commercial solar array installations. The payments come from a 2 percent charge attached to a customer's energy bill.
Colorado can greatly benefit from solar energy, as the state receives, on average, 300 days of sunshine every year, according to the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association.