Xcel Energy has filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission a program that would offer greater solar energy choices to customers. The proposal says that Xcel would purchase 50 MW of electricity from a new independent, large-scale solar facility to which customers would subscribe at a percentage and length of time they choose to meet their particular solar energy needs.
“We want to make renewable energy available at the right cost for all of our customers. Solar*Connect would complement our existing rooftop and solar garden offerings, but would give customers an option to access large-scale solar, the most cost-effective form of solar generation,” said David Eves, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “Solar*Connect will enable customers to purchase solar power through subscription, eliminating the need for construction of a rooftop panel system. Solar*Connect would make solar available to all customers, including those who rent apartments, cannot afford a rooftop system, live in an area where solar power is not an option, or simply lack the ability to put solar panels on their homes.”
Recent large-scale solar generation facilities have proven to be cost competitive with other forms of power generation over their lifetime, and are half the cost of other forms of solar generation, such as rooftop solar, Eves contends.
“Large-scale solar offers a great advantage. Facilities can be built to maximize system benefits and minimize costs by using state-of-the-art technology, such as tracking (which enables the panels to follow the sun), and by selecting locations with the best sun exposure,” Eves said.
If approved, the program is expected to begin in mid-2015