Xcel, solar firms given a week to settle rebate tiff

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is giving Xcel Energy Inc. and the solar-installers industry a week to work out a settlement over the utility’s request to the PUC to curtail a popular rebate on installing solar panels.

A dust-up between the two started last month when Xcel stopped accepting applications for the 4-year-old program that offered a 50 percent rebate on the cost of installing the panels.

The rebate was designed to reduce over time until it was no longer needed as more people installed the panels and prices declined as a result.

Installers said Xcel jumped the gun, saying that wasn’t expected to happen for a few more years.

Xcel officials, however, said prices have dropped to a point that the rebate was paying for more than half the cost of installation, and it asked the Public Utilities Commission to lower it to bring it back into balance.

The three-member commission decided Friday to give the two sides a week to iron out a compromise. They would discuss whatever the two work out when it meets again next week, commission spokesman Terry Bote said.

If no agreement is reached, the commission will decide March 11 how best to proceed.


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