The Battle Over Solar Energy Continues

Dec 15, 2013

The dispute between Xcel Energy Inc. and Colorado’s solar power industry over the value of the solar power generated by rooftop systems is heating up.

The solar industry says that slashing the rates paid via net metering will seriously damage the industry’s growth, but Xcel executives have said that current credit rate, 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour, is too much. They say the “true value” of the solar-based electricity is only about 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

Hearings before an administrative judge at the utilities commission are scheduled for Feb. 3rd-7th and the full commission is expected to rule on the matter in the second quarter of 2014.

In their testimony, representatives of the solar industry, not surprisingly, said they opposed slashing credit rate for rooftop solar power, arguing that rooftop solar power systems benefit Xcel customers.

On November 17th-19th, a survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Keating Research of some 400 voters throughout Colorado. Poll results show that 78% of respondents support net metering. About 47% of the respondents said they didn’t have rooftop solar, but were interested in adding it to their homes someday. Among those respondents, 80% were opposed to cutting the net metering credit.

Among the 46% who said they weren’t interested in putting solar panels on their roofs, more than two-thirds still opposed changing the net metering credit. This demonstrates that the battle isn’t between solar customers versus other customers because solar brings benefits to both.

We are seeing more buyers explore alternative energy when purchasing a home. If you have any questions about “green” features for your home, contact Daniel Beckerle, who is a certified Eco-Broker.

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