In my talk at the recent Department of Energy workshop on community solar, I addressed the Colorado experience with XCEL's solar gardens program. The program has a good concept, but there is significant room for improvement - a first-come, first serve application process that crowds out small projects, and high fees that limit access to small developers and community groups. Let's hope XCEL can iron out the glitches in an improved Colorado program, and in new programs rolled out in other states.
John Farrell weighs in on XCEL's proposed new standards for community solar in Minnesota. There are some great charts in the article comparing program fees to other programs in North America.
Fees and illegal caps, for starters.
After the state’s solar energy law passed in 2013, Minnesota’s
largest electric utility, Xcel Energy, was required to create a program
to support the development of community solar energy.
Since 3 in 4 people can’t have solar on their own rooftop (because they
rent, or have a nice shade tree), community solar dramatically expands
the opportunity for the average person to reduce their energy bill and
participate in a clean energy future.
Xcel Energy published their proposed community solar program
on Sept. 30, 2013 and I’ve got a few choice words about their proposal,
in response to questions posed by the state Public Utilities
Read more: http://grist.org/article/whats-wrong-with-xcels-proposed-community-solar-program/