XCel Energy’s Solar Rewards Program: 2023 

Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards program is back for its fifth year, offering residential customers who add solar panels to their homes money back on the energy their solar systems generate.

Despite the program’s success and popularity in previous years, there have been significant changes to its qualifications and funding. We’ve compiled everything you need to know about Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards in 2023.

What Is Solar*Rewards?

Solar*Rewards is a performance-based incentive program for utility customers with Xcel Energy in Minnesota. For every kilowatt hour (kWh) your solar array produces, Xcel Energy pays YOU! The current payout for residential solar owners is two cents per kWh. Customers who enroll in Solar*Rewards will be paid for their solar energy generation for ten years!

What Are the Major Changes to Solar Rewards in 2023?

1. Lower Budget. One of the biggest changes in 2023 is the decrease in funding – from $10 million in previous years to $5 million this year. Since the program’s start, early application was encouraged as funding was fully allocated early on – typically by spring. As of March 2023, about 30% of the budget has been allocated. 

2. Changes to Commercial Qualifications. Unfortunately, commercial businesses will no longer be eligible for this program unless specific income qualifications are met. For details on these qualifications, contact Xcel Energy.  

3. Decreased Incentive Payout. The payout for residential customers has decreased from $0.04 to $0.02 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). 

Why Act Now?

Since there is a limited budget for rewards – half of what was available in previous years – so you‘ll want to apply as early as possible to secure your spot. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will earn you $0.02 per kWh produced by your system. It may not sound like much, but depending on the size of your solar array, this incentive can add up to thousands of dollars every year – and don’t forget you’ll be collecting these rewards for the next ten years at this locked-in rate! 

If I Applied In Previous Years, Do I have to Reapply?

If you applied and were accepted into the program in previous years, then you do not need to reapply. You’re set to watch the rewards flow in for years to come! If you applied in previous years and you were not accepted or were on the waitlist, then you need to reapply this year.

 

How do I know if I’m Eligible?

To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be a current customer of Xcel Energy, and the name on your application must match the name on your Xcel Energy account.
  • You must own your home or the property where your solar array is installed.
  • You must connect your system to the Xcel Energy grid and sign a 10-year Solar Rewards contract with Xcel Energy.
  • Your solar system must be between 0.5- and 20.00-kW DC (there are other incentives for larger systems!)
  • Your solar array cannot generate more than 120% of your historical electricity use (based on an analysis of your past usage)
  • You must use certain, certified equipment – you can ensure your equipment will qualify when you work with a reputable and professional solar installation company like Cedar Creek Energy.
  • Your PV system must be installed within one year of the date of your application.

 

Anything Else I Should Know?

 By enrolling in Solar*Rewards, you agree to give Xcel Energy the rights to the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) that your system earns. RECs are like certificates that prove the electricity you generate with your solar panels is renewable. You earn one REC for every 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy you send to the grid. These RECs are valuable because many utilities must buy a certain number of them each year to meet sustainability requirements set by the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in each state. 

 

How do I sign up?

Cedar Creek Energy works directly with Xcel Energy on our clients’ behalf to apply for Solar Rewards. We create your account, complete all forms and paperwork, and submit the application for you. We’ve got you completely covered. 

We ensure our clients receive the maximum funding and savings possible when switching to solar, which is why we stay up to date on all rebates, programs, and financing opportunities. You can count on our expertise to develop the ideal solar solution that fits your needs, protects your investment and maximizes your savings.  

We have installed thousands of solar projects in Minnesota and look forward to working with you. Contact us to get started!