POSTED: 05/13/2011 02:16:37 PM MDT

Xcel Energy is well ahead of the state of Colorado mandate that 30 percent of its electricity come from renewable resources by 2020, the company said today.

Xcel said it will file its 2012 Renewable Energy Standard Compliance Plan with the Public Utilities Commission later this afternoon showing how it is meeting the standard.

“The filing highlights that Xcel Energy is well ahead of targets…” the company said in a statement.

However, Xcel didn’t say just how far ahead of schedule it is.

The company said that in the compliance plan it proposes the level and pricing for its Solar Rewards program through 2013.

Xcel said it plans to continue on the path outlined in its March settlement with the solar industry and to acquire an additional 30 megawatts of customer-sited solar energy in both 2012 and 2013.

It said the 30 megawatts is double the amount of customer-sited electricity above what is needed to meet minimum compliance with the renewable energy standard.

Xcel’s settlement with the solar-installation industry capped incentives at $97 million over the next 12 months for home and small business solar panels.

The key element of the Solar Rewards accord is a 56-cent-per-watt cut in solar subsidies and a new sliding scale that will trim the incentives as more megawatts of solar installations are built.

Xcel said the proposed 2012 plan also aims to balance the Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment (RESA) fund – the two percent charge on all Colorado customers’ electricity bills and used by Xcel to cover the cost of renewable energy.

Xcel said that more money for renewable energy projects has been spent than received from customers.

The company said it advanced funds to RESA to help “jump start” the solar industry and customer interest in solar and to maintain “its steady level of support for solar installers in Colorado.”

“Our efforts to encourage customer adoption of solar energy have been successful,” said Karen Hyde, Xcel Energy’s vice president of rates and regulatory affairs.

Hyde said “now is the right time to start eliminating the fund’s shortfall.”

She said that on May 6, Xcel filed a settlement with the PUC to apply for $55 million in proceeds from the sale of renewable energy credits against the shortfall.

Xcel is also proposing what it calls its continued use of pay-for-performance incentives as agreed to by the solar industry in March.

During the past five years, said the company, Solar Rewards incentives were paid upfront. Pay-for-performance means incentives would be paid over the life of Xcel’s contracts with customers.

Hyde said the proposal – which like all the proposals must be approved by the PUC – ensure that “we are balancing long-term growth in solar with the impact on all of our customers.”

Xcel said that while the PUC is considering the plan, Xcel will continue to honor the Solar Rewards program approved in March. Any unused program capacity will continue past the agreement period and then the terms of the new plan, if approved, will start, said the company.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or [email protected]

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