Xcel must retain solar subsidy
State regulators order the electric utility to continue supporting Minnesota's small-but-growing solar industry.
Minnesota regulators on Monday ordered Xcel Energy to retain a popular program that subsidizes the small-scale solar-power projects of its customers.
State Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman decided that the Minneapolis-based utility must fund the Solar Rewards program at the current $5 million-a-year level for the next three years.
The state's small-but-growing solar industry, especially installers, had feared a drop in orders if the program ended. So far, it has helped 560 homeowners and businesses afford solar panel systems since 2010....(2 years @ $5 million a year=$10 million ratepayers dollars divided by 560 customers=$17,857.00 for every subsidized customer.)
...Xcel wanted to drop Solar Rewards from its broader conservation program after 2013, saying it was not a good deal for the ratepayers, who foot the bill. The utility also argued that solar generation doesn't belong in a conservation program that aims to reduce electricity use by 1.5 percent each year.