The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) recently applauded a decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase the 2013 capacity of Xcel Energy’s popular Solar*Rewards program for small-sized solar installations throughout the state. In April, SEIA, the COSEIA, and Xcel Energy jointly proposed this capacity increase in order to avoid possible disruption to the successful program.

Solar*Rewards encourages the growth of solar energy and offers customers incentives to install solar panels' electric systems on their homes and businesses. As part of a compliance plan approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2012, 9.6MW of generating capacity were available to Xcel Energy residential customers in Colorado in each of the two years, for systems of up to 10kW each, allowing for solar installations on approximately 2,000 homes.

Prior to the CPUC’s decision, capacity in the small-sized solar installation program had been fully subscribed. Without commission approval to expand the capacity of this program, incentives for installation of systems of 10kW or less electric would have been suspended statewide until at least 2014. This decision approved making 33.6MW available to the Colorado solar market.

“We thank the CPUC for making an expedient decision in support of Colorado’s rapidly-growing solar energy industry, which is now ranked fifth in the nation based on total installed capacity,” said Sara Birmingham, director of western states at SEIA. “Expanding Solar*Rewards will allow Colorado to maintain this leadership position by supporting small businesses and their growing workforce, and promoting the deployment of even more clean, abundant solar energy throughout the state.”