As we reported in late January, thanks to a tremendous outpouring of public solar support last year, the Colorado’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) agreed to pull Xcel’s attacks on net metering out of the utility’s Renewable Energy Standard compliance plan and conduct a new, separate process to take a good look at this critically important solar policy.
On April 9th, the PUC is holding an information workshop to solicit feedback from stakeholders on what this new evaluation process should look like. Xcel Energy and a group of solar advocates will both have the opportunity to present before the Commission on how the evaluation should be conducted, and how the results should be used. After the workshop, the PUC will issue a directive detailing how the PUC will proceed with evaluating the costs and benefits of net metering to Colorado’s ratepayers.
Based on filings in the Renewable Energy Standard compliance plan, Xcel has made it clear that they would like to control the evaluation process, and the underlying data needed to complete a cost and benefit study. That’s a problem because we know what happens when Xcel produces a cost/benefit study of rooftop solar without stakeholder input: they greatly undervalue the benefits of rooftop solar as a way to push for a rollback of net metering.
The solar advocates who will jointly present on the 9th – Vote Solar, the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, and the Alliance for Solar Choice – will work together to advocate for a fair, transparent process that is facilitated by an independent 3rd party consultant. We will be calling for the PUC to use the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s (IREC) A REGULATOR’S GUIDEBOOK: Calculating the Benefits and Costs of Distributed Solar Generation as a framework for calculating the costs and benefits of rooftop solar.
If you live in Colorado, you can do your part to make sure the PUC and Xcel know you are paying attention, and that you support fair solar policies like net metering. On April 8th, a day before the PUC workshop, we’re mobilizing citizens from across the state to speak up for rooftop solar. Our plan is to unleash a “Twitter Thunderclap,” which will send the same pro-solar tweet at the same time to Xcel and decision makers at the PUC: By saying it together, we’ll be sending a powerful message that simply can’t be ignored. Click below to join us!