Tuesday, February 14, 2012
XCEL Energy Discusses Imminent Solar Gardens Program
At last Friday's Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) conference, XCEL Energy held an informal hallway session to discuss their preparation for the Solar*Rewards Community (solar gardens) program. The program allows for virtual net metered arrays with at least ten offsite subscribers (that's utility speak for "panels somewhere else credited to your electric bill as if they were on your roof) .
In an recent email, XCEL notified the solar industry and community enthusiasts throughout Colorado that the program was in its "refinement phase" and the application software was being tested. The Colorado PUC has yet to rule on XCEL's 2012 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan, which is necessary before the program can be implemented. Governor Bill Ritter signed the Community Solar Gardens Act into law on June 5, 2010, just over 20 months ago. (Aside from Joy: Waiting for the PUC to rule has been like Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.)
A website for online application will be available at program launch, using a seven-step process (XCEL will provide training). Standard offer projects (10 - 500 kilowatts) will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis while projects under the Request for Proposal (RFP ) program (501 - 2000 kilowatts) will be awarded on a competitive basis.
The Solar Gardens Institute is developing community solar arrays in each Colorado county and municipal utility, and in several states across the country. To reserve your subscription, go to http://solargardens.org/register
To sign up for the Solar Gardener Training and learn how to organize your community to develop a solar garden, see the solar gardener training page and the solar gardens FAQ page.