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Department of Commerce supports Solar Rewards Program through 2015

October 01, 2012

For Immediate Release

Xcel Energy plan demonstrates positive impact of energy conservation and efficiency measures 

ST. PAUL, MN – Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman today has approved the Minnesota Electric and Natural Gas Conservation Improvement Plan submitted by Xcel Energy. The approved conservation improvement plan demonstrates clear financial benefits to participating consumers and a significant reduction in their energy consumption.   

"I am very pleased that Xcel Energy has delivered a conservation improvement plan that will be good for Minnesota consumers and the environment," said Commissioner Rothman. "As a result of this plan, Xcel customers will have numerous opportunities to make their homes or businesses more energy efficient and to save money on their energy bills."

Commissioner Rothman also affirmed Minnesota’s commitment to the Solar Rewards Program.  The decision ensures Xcel Energy will continue its $5-million-a-year Solar Rewards Program through 2015. In addition to the continuation of the Solar Rewards Program, the department has committed to working in partnership with Xcel Energy to consider additional options in developing and managing the solar incentive program into the future.

“In the nearly three years that Xcel has administered Solar Rewards, significant progress has been made in building an infrastructure to support a solar industry in Minnesota,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Jobs have been created, financial investments have been made, and a new industry is gaining traction in Minnesota’s economy. The Department of Commerce is committed to working alongside Xcel Energy to continue this momentum and to spur growth in all renewable energy sources.”

Following comments received from Xcel Energy and stakeholders, the Commerce Department recommended the same $5 million per year budget for 2013-2015, but with a reduced incentive level of $1.50 per watt installed.  

Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Electric and Natural Gas Conservation Improvement Plan is projected to save over 1.3 million megawatts, or enough electricity to power 113,710 Minnesota homes and natural gas to heat 38,607 Minnesota homes.  The conservation improvement program will offer incentives for a wide variety of energy-related improvements in homes, farms, buildings and manufacturing facilities. Xcel Energy’s conservation improvement plan will avoid approximately 1.2 million tons of CO2 emissions being released into our environment.

State law requires most Minnesota utilities to operate a conservation improvement program with the established energy savings goal of 1.5 percent of average retail sales for each electric and gas utility beginning in 2010. The Minnesota Electric and Natural Gas Conservation Improvement Program plan was submitted by Xcel Energy to the Department of Commerce to meet that obligation.

A copy of Xcel Energy’s Minnesota Electric and Natural Gas Conservation Improvement Plan is available. For more information on utility conservation improvement programs (CIP), see the CIP section on the Commerce website.