Xcel Energy’s Solar*Rewards Program: 2023 FAQ

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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 financial incentive program for utility customers with Xcel Energy in Minnesota. Customers who generate more renewable energy than their household is consuming can sell their excess energy to Xcel Energy’s grid, earning them Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). RECs are added to your monthly utility bill, then paid out to you at the beginning of each year 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. Now, with half the original budget, we expect to see the program fill up even quicker, so early application is crucial in order successfully enroll.

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).


How Does The Program Work?

All solar customers receive net energy metering benefits (NEM), that measures the flow of electric energy in both directions – between your home and your utility grid. When your solar array produces more energy than you need, the extra energy is sent to Xcel Energy’s grid, and you earn an REC on your monthly utility bill. For residential customers, RECs are paid out to you at the end of the year at $0.02 (2 cents) per kilowatt hour of electricity you sent back.  

There are specific incentives for income-qualified customers for single and multi-family homes, as well as non-profits and other organizations. 

Why Act NOw?

Since there is a limited budget for rewards – half of what was available in previous years – 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 offset the cost of installing your solar array by 2 cents per kWh produced by your system in excess of what you use. It doesn’t sound like much, but depending on the size of your solar array and your average consumption, 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! 

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.

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