We reported this summer about the struggling solar industry locking horns with Xcel over the utility’s right to conduct due diligence on the equipment that solar investors connected to the utility’s infrastructure. Now the two parties are at it again, this time in a dust up over solar customers’ inflated rebates from the small amount of electricity they they contribute to the grid.
On Thursday, the Denver Business Journal reported on the fact that Xcel is required to rebate 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour to solar panel users for energy they contribute to the grid that is worth just 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour. And who makes up the difference: you guessed it – other ratepayers. Other ratepayers not interested in fronting $30,000 for an average-sized solar panel install or entering into a risky lease agreement with one of the solar companies trying to exploit the federal tax loopholes designed to pick winners and losers in the energy industry.
The DBJ caught up with Colorado Energy Office’s Jeff Ackermann at an event for Grid Alternatives, a non-profit that the Colorado Energy Office funded to the tune of $200,000. The purpose of the state’s grant was to outfit 10-14 homes of low income families in Lakewood with solar panels, and they define “low income” as people making 80% of the median household income for the area, hardly poverty-stricken folks.
So just add the 10.5 cent/kwh energy rebate and the taxpayers’ contribution to Grid Alternatives to the long list of ways that bureaucrats are working diligently to prop up an unprofitable industry. They are not just wasting taxpayer money, but they are also creating an artificial environment that improperly diverts capital from proven, productive endeavors such as investments our state’s oil and gas industry – an industry that can actually create prosperity for the middle class in our state and across the nation.