PUC approves solar gardens settlement after rehearing

DENVER (June 29, 2016) — The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC), supported by additional financial and legal evidence, today granted reconsideration of a proposal by Xcel Energy and three solar companies regarding the acquisition of community solar gardens (CSGs) pursuant to Xcel’s 2014-2016 Renewable Energy Standard (RES) compliance plan.

The PUC, a division of the Department of Regulatory Agencies, approved a settlement agreement addressing implementation of Xcel’s CSG program. The PUC found that testimony and legal argument presented at a June 1 rehearing adequately demonstrated that the proposed agreement was in the public interest. The PUC in March had rejected the proposal because it lacked sufficient details to support approval, deficiencies which the settling parties admitted in asking for reconsideration.

Based on the additional evidence, the PUC said the agreement will spread the benefits of solar gardens among as many customers as possible, including low-income and other individuals and businesses that want to promote solar energy. Among the issues resolved by the rehearing were questions about the $0.03/kwh Renewable Energy Credit (REC) price and the method for determining customer bill credits for CSGs.

In a 2014 decision, the PUC directed Xcel to acquire between 19.5 megawatts (MW) and 90 MW of community solar gardens by the end of 2016, and that requirement had not been altered by the settlement proposal.

The settlement was entered into by Xcel, SunShare, Clean Energy Collective and Community Solar Energy. The three solar companies build and operate community solar gardens and were declared by Xcel to be the three winning bidders of the company’s 2015 competitive solicitation for 29.5 megawatts (MW) of CSG resources.

The PUC also approved a recommendation that the company work with PUC staff on a report on how community solar gardens are being deployed and subscribed. 

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About PUC

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) serves the public interest by effectively regulating utilities and facilities so that the people of Colorado receive safe, reliable, and reasonably-priced services consistent with the economic, environmental and social values of our state. Visit www.colorado.gov/dora/puc.

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The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.colorado.gov/dora for more information or call 303-894-7855/toll free 1-800-886-7675.