In the old days, the days of the 20th century, we all used to be energy deficient and needed to rely on large companies to generate energy for us, paying them a premium for its use.
But now, at the dawn of the age of renewable energy, we’re beginning to generate our own energy, and during those times when we’re left with a surplus, there’s evolved new ways to use it.
We’re not just talking your standard Net Metering government rebates here. One company, Xcel Energy, has taken the idea of a renewable energy surplus one step further and created a program that, in essence, can be called an energy bank and pays an annual incentive.
If you’re lucky enough to live in the states of Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexico, you might know what we’re talking about.
Currently, these three states are the only ones in the US that Xcel Energy operates or, in the case of New Mexico, has operated in.
The idea is simple, a spokesperson for the company explained:
“When people produce excess electricity it gets put into solar bank. If they produce more every month, their credits will grow, and if they use more, they can draw from it.”
At the end of each year homeowners have the option to roll their saved energy hours over into the next year’s account to draw from, or can choose to get a check back for however much excess energy the have left stored in their account.
Such novel performance based incentives are paying homeowners in New Mexico that use solar $0.08 per a KW hour for the next 10 years. And that’s in addition to the normal net metering and solar government rebates being dished out, resulting in some residents producing a positive cash flow for their energy consumption!
In Colorado, Xcel’s Solar Rewards Program, works on independent contracts with homeowners with rates that vary from person to person. And in New Mexico, Excel closed is program to new users in 2014 when the state Public Utilities announced it met its solar capacity.
After reading about how the company operates it appears that its state programs have a cap of solar depositors, which, once certain megawatt capacities are reached, it no longer becomes profitable for the company to store and sell off people’s excess energy.
People who managed to get a foot in before that window of opportunity closes, however, are able to reap the benefits of the annual payments for years until their contract ends.