Solar Power

We take advantage of the sun through utility-scale and customer-owned solar energy systems, as well as systems installed for the benefit of communities. We are one of the nation's top 10 electric utilities for the amount of solar power on our system, according to the Solar Electric Power Association. In 2011, we more than doubled our solar capacity, adding over 100 megawatts of solar energy to our system.

Utility-Scale Solar

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado has significantly higher than average levels of sunshine for producing energy compared with other areas of the state. We now purchase power from four sizable solar installations located in the area.

In early 2012, we began purchasing power from two newly constructed, world-class projects. Iberdrola's 30-megawatt San Luis Solar facility relies on 110,000 photovoltaic modules. The 30-megawatt Cogentrix of Alamosa solar project employs a high-concentration photovoltaic technology and is the largest facility of its type in the world. Amonix Inc., developed the technology that uses optics and a dual-axis tracking system to focus large amounts of sunlight onto high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.

A unique multi-site project now provides our system about 50 megawatts of solar power in New Mexico in Lea and Eddy counties. SunEdison built and maintains the five 10-megawatt solar farms, and we purchase the energy under a power-purchase agreement. The sites were chosen because we could more efficiently and easily connect to the grid at existing distribution substations and spread out production over numerous feeders. The five sites also offer geographic diversity, so cloud cover doesn't impact the overall system as much.

Utility-scale projects help Xcel Energy to meet state renewable energy standards.

Utility-Scale Solar on the Xcel Energy System
Facility Owner System Type Size (AC) Location Online
SunEdison Alamosa Combination concentrating and flat-plate photovoltaic 6 MW Alamosa, Colo. 2008
SunPower Greater Sandhill High efficiency photovoltaic 19 MW Alamosa, Colo. 2010
SunEdison Ground-mounted photovoltaic (five 10-MW sites) 50 MW Lea and Eddy counties, New Mexico 2011
Iberdrola Renewables San Luis Valley Solar Ranch Central photovoltaic 30 MW Alamosa, Colo. 2012
Cogentrix Alamosa Solar Generating Project Central, concentrating photovoltaic 30 MW Alamosa, Colo. 2012

Customer-Owned Solar

Xcel Energy offers the Solar*Rewards® program in Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico. We provide incentives to customers interested in installing solar systems on homes and businesses to help make the systems more affordable. In turn, the program and the renewable energy credits associated with the solar energy produced enable us to meet requirements of state renewable energy standards.

Read more about Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards program.

Community Solar

We are set to begin offering Solar*Rewards Community in Colorado in 2012. Under the program, a subscriber organization can install a community solar garden and receive production incentives from Xcel Energy. Subscriber organizations sell or lease interests of the garden to subscribing customers. This program, created in 2011 by state legislation that Xcel Energy supported, provides a solar energy option for renters or condo owners, or for customers who can't or don't want to have their own solar installations.

We will purchase the energy and renewable energy credits from qualified solar gardens, up to 6 megawatts each year, from 2012 to 2013. Learn more about Solar*Rewards Community.

Through our New Mexico Community Solar program, we own four photovoltaic systems located on community partner sites in eastern and southeastern New Mexico. A key component of the program is educational outreach. We provide energy curriculum developed specifically for New Mexico schools. Students, as well as the general public, are able to access live and historical data measuring ambient temperatures, wind speed and levels of solar production at the sites. Find information on the program website.

Learn more about solar power on our system.

Read about our work at SolarTAC.

Other Renewable Resources »

About the Report

We published our first corporate responsibility report (formerly known as the Triple Bottom Line report) in April 2005, with the contents covering the 2004 calendar year, and we have published a similar report in each following year. Our report is based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, the most widely used sustainability reporting framework in the world. Additionally, we incorporate the GRI's Electric Utilities Sector Supplement indicators wherever possible.

Read more

Details

About the Report