Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tell Xcel they can't squash solar

Last week Xcel Energy suspended its solar program, destabilizing the market for clean energy.
This move has effectively frozen solar sales while customers wait for a possible program restart – with a devastating impact on small businesses and the Colorado economy. We can’t let a monopoly choke off competition and curtail clean energy. That’s why we need your help.
Mark your calendar: join the Rally for Clean Energy Jobs at the state capitol (west steps) in Denver THIS FRIDAY, 2/25 at 12noon.
We need to see you there to help fight back against Xcel’s outrageous activities – and to send a clear message that a monopoly shouldn’t be allowed to control the fate of Colorado's clean energy industries and put thousands of jobs at risk.
Can you help spread the word about this event?

IF you are not able to attend the rally on Friday, please submit a brief comment on the PUC website (Docket: 11A-135E) to urge them to restart Xcel’s solar program before any more economic damage is done.

Here's some background on this important issue – and why Xcel’s actions are so concerning: - Colorado voters have sent a clear message that they want to increase clean energy and help promote economic development. Building on the success of Amendment 37, there are now 5,300 solar jobs and more than 400 solar businesses in Colorado. Colorado is now the #2 state in the U.S. for solar jobs per capita. - Xcel Energy is using its monopoly to disrupt the market for clean energy and choke off competition. Xcel is now the 2nd major utility to suspend its solar program. Black Hills Energy in Pueblo suspended its solar program in October, which led to a 90% decrease in solar sales and significant job losses while customers wait for incentives to return. The Colorado economy can’t afford a devastating similar crash statewide. An estimated 2,000-3,000 Colorado jobs will be lost by the end of the year unless there is a rapid restart to the state’s successful solar programs. - Every industry needs a stable marketplace to compete. Xcel’s Solar*Rewards program was on schedule, slowly ratcheting down incentives as solar costs decreased. Incentives were reduced nearly 50% during the past two years as solar electric costs decreased by 40-50% during the same period. The program has been working. The key was that program changes were predictable, incremental and transparent so consumers and businesses could react. - Xcel Energy administering its own solar program is a conflict of interest. As a monopoly utility, Xcel has a financial stake in disrupting and destabilizing the clean energy marketplace. A monopoly shouldn’t be allowed to pull the rug out from under Colorado’s small businesses and put thousands of jobs at risk. - Xcel is exhibiting a blatant double-standard. If Xcel was forced to change its business model in less than 24 hours without advanced notice or due process it would be crying foul to policymakers and the public about the injustice. - Colorado needs an independent 3rd party administrator to oversee its solar program. Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy have demonstrated that they are either incapable or unwilling to ensure a stable marketplace for healthy competition. That’s why other states have implemented an independent solar program administrator to avoid these conflicts of interest. Colorado should too. - The Public Utilities Commission should deny efforts to gut clean energy programs. The PUC should seek to restart Xcel’s and Black Hills’ solar programs quickly, before any more economic damage is done, and begin a fair and transparent stakeholder process to ensure stable marketplace.
Attend the Rally for Clean Energy Jobs this Friday, February 25 at 12pm, at the Colorado State Capitol building, (west steps) and show your support for clean energy in Colorado and for future generations.

Again, if you are not able to attend the rally on Friday, please submit a brief comment on the PUC website (Docket: 11A-135E) to urge them to restart Xcel’s solar program before any more economic damage is done.


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