Xcel Energy seeking customers for solar power partnership

ROSWELL – Xcel Energy is boosting its New Mexico Solar*Rewards program – launched in March for customer-installed, small-scale solar generating facilities – by extending incentives to large-scale, customer-installed generating systems.

A request for proposals (RFP) went out earlier this month seeking bids for at least five megawatts of energy generated by customer-owned distributed solar generating systems sized between 100 kilowatts (kW) and two megawatts (MW). Proposals are due back to the company by Nov. 6, and Xcel Energy will award the bids on Nov. 19.

Solar*Rewards already purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from small-scale, customer-operated systems by offering a credit of up to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for photovoltaic solar power. In addition, the company purchases excess energy monthly from these small-scale systems at the avoided cost rate.

A REC is a credit earned by the customer for generating one kilowatt-hour of electricity from a renewable source such as wind or solar energy. The price at which the company purchases RECs from the large-scale systems will be determined through the RFP process, and all RECs generated must be sold to Xcel Energy.

Customer proposals must include a contract term of 10 to 20 years, and the systems must be in operation by June 1, 2011. All solar generating technologies are eligible, and customers must work with Xcel Energy engineers on the interconnection for the project.

Customers can use the installer of their choice or self-install. Xcel Energy will not offer recommendations on installers, but customers can get information on installers in their area by consulting a New Mexico Solar Energy Association directory of solar professionals located at www.nmsea.org/Directory/2005/prodirectory05.htm.