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Monday, April 28, 2014
XCEL's Big Projects "Solar Done Right"? Really?
XCEL Energy recently put out a commercial claiming that large, central solar installations are "fair", "responsible", and "solar done right". This must be news to the folks at Solar Done Right, an organization that promotes distributed energy and questions large scale solar development on sensitive lands.
XCEL energy has been proposing to build very large utility-owned solar projects, while simultaneously attacking net metering programs. XCEL has proposed a program called Solar*Connect, which would charge customers a premium to support solar power (similar to their existing Windsource program), even though under current net metering rules customers who own or lease their panels onsite or in a solar garden can save money over time.
The empire strikes back. And strikes back. And strikes back.
"Solar Fred" put out an excellent deconstruction of the commercial in Renewable Energy World:
Public relations really is an art, and I have to hand it to Xcel Energy for creating a very nice looking commercial that — on the surface — seems to be a big luv hug to solar power! Yay! And it is — for utility scale solar. At the same time, the video subtly poo-poos little home solar, implying that it’s an “unfair and unequal” way to go solar.
If you’re a solar installer, I think your residential solar customers and prospects in Xcel’s territories may be interested in what this commercial is subtly saying about residential solar, so as a solar PR lesson, let’s break down the art of creating a commercial that implies that residential solar is the wrong way to go solar.