Ritter praises Xcel for dropping solar-array surcharge to pay for transmission lines

Gov. Bill Ritter Tuesday praised Xcel Energy for pulling back its plan to charge homes and small businesses with solar arrays a surcharge to help the company defray the costs of building new transmission lines.

As Xcel continues to be pressured to expand the state’s transmission grid to farther flung areas to accommodate growth in utility-scale renewable power projects such as wind farms and solar plants, the company wants distributed renewable projects that actually take pressure off the grid to help foot the bill.

That caused considerable uproar among home solar owners who feel they were being unfairly singled out despite doing the right thing for the environment and the governor’s New Energy Economy.

Ritter said in a release he thought the surcharge would have created a disincentive for solar investments that would have hurt the strides the state has made in creating green jobs and increasing the amount of renewable energy generation.

“I commend Xcel for reconsidering this proposal,” Ritter said. “We appreciate Xcel’s concerns about the cost of distributing power and maintaining the electric grid, and we will work with Xcel to study these issues moving forward. The New Energy Economy has become a key bright spot in the state’s overall economy. We must do all we can to encourage growth as we lead Colorado toward a new energy future.”

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