Fri February 25, 2011

Solar Businesses Blast Xcel

At the state capitol Friday, a couple hundred solar energy business owners and renewable energy advocates staged a protest against a plan by Xcel Energy to drastically slash a popular solar rebate program.

Protesters held signs with slogans like “Clean Energy Today,” and “Don’t Let Xcel Kill Solar in Colorado.” 

Neal Lurie, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association, emceed the event on an ironically rare, cloudy and misty day. 

He said Xcel’s abrupt decision has already led to a drop off in sales of solar installations which he said will lead to a corresponding loss in jobs in the once-growing industry.

"We are not looking to be able to have exponential growth and just fall off a cliff.  We want one thing, market stability," Lurie said.

The Public Utilities Commission still needs to sign off on the plan.  Xcel officials say the drop in rebates is due to the corresponding dramatic drop in costs for solar panels.