Solar*Connect Shut Down

Solar*Connect (XCEL’s solar power program that would have allowed customers to pay a premium on their monthly utility bills to support solar energy) has officially been shut down by Colorado utility regulators.

The utility planned to allow customers to buy blocks of solar power equal to a percentage of their monthly power usage, from 25 percent up to 100 percent, and XCEL planned to have 50 megawatts worth of solar power in the program if state regulators approved the plan.

XCEL has run a similar monthly premium program that supports wind power, called WindSource, since 1998. WindSource has 36,000 subscribers in Colorado who have purchased more than 1 billion kilowatt hours of power over the years.

However, the three members of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to deny XCEL’s application to start Solar*Connect. The commissioners said XCEL didn’t show its customers wanted the program and worried that it didn’t provide a level playing field with companies already working in the community solar power sector.

XCEL spokesman Mark Stutz said the utility was disappointed with the decision, but members of Colorado’s solar power industry applauded it because the proposal allegedly had too many unresolved issues.

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