We have gotten several phone calls and many emails letting us know about this rally tomorrow in Denver. I thought I would pass it on. This is from the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (CoSEIA)
Xcel Energy Suspends its Solar Program
Rally for Clean Energy Jobs - Join Us!
Friday, February 25, 2011 at 12pm
Colorado State Capitol - West Steps, Denver
Xcel is trying to destabilize the market for clean energy and choke off competition to protect its own monopoly. Last week Xcel suspended its solar program without stakeholder input or due process, reducing choices for consumers and putting thousands of jobs at risk. This comes on the heels of Black Hills Energy suspending its solar program. Don't let big monopoly utilities pull the plug on solar. Join us at the Rally for Clean Energy Jobs this Friday, February 25 at the Colorado State Capitol, west steps. Please spread the word!
From the Denver Post:
A push by Xcel Energy to slash incentives for residential solar arrays poses a risk to half of Colorado's 5,300 installation jobs, industry executives say.
Xcel has suspended its Solar*Rewards program pending a decision by the state Public Utilities Commission on its request to cut subsidies by 47 percent.
Since 2006, the program has provided $274 million in incentives for 9,346 installations on homes and small businesses.
The program is financed by a renewable-energy charge equal to 2 percent of monthly electric bills.
The move to cut the subsidy is prompted by the rising cost of the program and a drop in the price of solar arrays, said Michelle Aguayo, an Xcel spokeswoman.
"This has just created tremendous uncertainty," said Blake Jones, chief executive of Boulder-based solar installer Namaste. "It is hard to run a business under these conditions."
Namaste employs 80 people, and company executives met Wednesday to discuss layoffs and budget cuts, Jones said.
"We have a backlog, but we don't know how long this is going to go on," Jones said.
Solar City, a California solar leasing company operating in 10 states, opened a Colorado office a year ago, hiring 60 people, said Eric Wittenberg, the company's regional director.
"I don't know if there will be layoffs, but I have put a hiring freeze on 10 positions," Wittenberg said.
There has been a steady ratcheting down of the incentives since 2009 from $4.50 per watt to $2.35 per watt this month, with a schedule to drop by another 30 cents as more arrays are installed.
"We expected customers to pay 50 percent and for credits and subsidies to cover 50 percent. We are paying about 75 percent," Aguayo said.
Xcel wants to cut the incentive to $1.25 a watt...