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Xcel Energy, a US electricity and natural gas company, has announced an end to its Solar Rewards scheme. Xcel Energy was seeking approximately 4.5MW of generation, from systems less than or equal to 500kW; it received approximately three times that amount in applications in about 30 minutes after the program opened at 8a.m. last week. Acceptance of applications ended after an hour.
The Solar Rewards incentive scheme was designed for Minnesota customers who could not, for various reasons, take advantage of other solar programs, because they were renting, lived in multi-family dwellings or did not have homes or businesses suitable for solar installations. Customers were able to purchase renewable energy through solar project developers from a community-based photovoltaic system.
Laura McCarten, regional vice president for Xcel, told Minnesota Public Radio that the market would need to be rebranded if it wanted to ensure longevity.
"From a public policy standpoint, it really needs to be looked at with a fresh eye," she said, "the regulatory framework, the incentive mechanism, and then how does this work and who should really pay for it?"
The state Department of Commerce is expected to make a preliminary ruling this month, an opportunity for the public to comment and then a final decision in October.