The change in incentives wont alter the credit a solar customer gets on his bill for excess power sent to the grid via a two-way meter.
A homeowner installing the same system in 2014 would get no money up front.
Based on an average output of 12,500 kilowatt-hours per year, the 10-year payback would be 10,000.
If the panels are made in Minnesota, another ratepayer-funded subsidy also is available.Now, a 10-kilowatt solar panel array is eligible for a 15,000 rebate.That would be cut in half for systems installed in 2016.In effect, the solar customer sells power back to Xcel at retail rates, a system called net metering.Lynn Hinkle, director of policy development for the Minnesota photo contest beginner Solar Energy Industries Association, said he was still reviewing Xcels filing with the state Public Utilities Commission.They are trying to reflect how cost effective solar has become, Hinkle said.The popular Xcel Energy program to subsidize solar panels on Minnesota homes and businesses is slated for major changes next year that may make it less attractive to customers who install such systems.Instead of giving customers an immediate rebate covering a quarter or more of the cost of their solar panels, the new incentive system will offer annual payments over 10 years based on each systems electrical output.
Even with the reduced subsidy, Xcel projects that Solar Rewards will encourage 918 customers to install new systems in 2016, up from 261 in 2012.
Each year for 10 years, Xcel proposes to pay 8 cents for each kilowatt hour of power from the new system.Solar Rewards, which Xcel once wanted to drop, is funded by Xcel ratepayers at a cost of 5 million per year.We have a pent-up demand for the money that is allocated for incentives, said Deb Sundin, who directs Xcels renewable strategy and planning.Home financing » Xcel Energy 2/watt solar power rebate!That change, specified in the states 2013 solar law, had been anticipated.In addition to Xcels Solar Rewards incentive, solar projects also are eligible for a federal tax credit.