Friday marks deadline for customer testimony on Xcel solar energy backlog
Some solar panel applicants have been told it could be more than a decade before their application to connect solar power to Xcel Energy’s grid will be considered.
(FOX 9) – Some solar panel applicants have been told it could be more than a decade before their application to connect solar power to Xcel Energy’s grid will be considered.
Kathie and Richard Taranto have been working with a local company to start the process of installing solar panels on their home in Northfield. Part of that process is applying to connect those solar panels to Xcel’s energy grid.
They say connecting it to the grid will be easier to cash in on solar energy tax incentives, sell their collected but unused electricity back to Xcel, and get the meter necessary to ensure the solar power they generate reduces their bill from Xcel.
After filing their application the Tarantos received a letter informing them that their application was added to a queue of other applications. They were told, “There are currently 12 other projects ahead of yours in queue. Unfortunately, this may add a significant delay to your application timeline – I apologize for the inconvenience. We estimate each project can take a maximum of 300 business days to complete the review cycle.”
That means it could be as many as 15 years before their application is up for review.
“Why are they taking applications for this knowing that they’re not going to get around to it for 15 years?” Richard said. “We wanted to do it in a timely fashion so we would get the tax benefit.”
Delays like this are also impacting larger developers. Nokomis Energy in Minneapolis develops mid-sized solar projects ranging from five to 50 acres. Several of their upcoming solar projects are hung up in the application queue too. According to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, there are around 300 applications waiting to be processed.
“We have this backlog, not because of this overwhelming additional wave of solar. We’re here because the utility is currently not motivated to process them as fast as demand is there,” said Julian White, a partner at Nokomis Energy.
White says he believes Xcel Energy is not incentivized to get through these applications and connect smaller solar producers like him and the …….