How to Get the Most Out of Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Program

With some financial incentives in place, more and more people are going solar. But since solar power is one of the more expensive ways to generate electricity, people are always looking for ways to save. One easy way is through Xcel Energy’s* Solar Rewards Program. If you’re considering going solar in the future, this post will tell you all you need to know about the program and how you can get the most out of it.

The Basics

The Solar Rewards Program gives homeowners and businesses the opportunity to offset all or part of the cost of their solar panels through monthly credits on their statement. The credits reduce their monthly utility bills and make solar more affordable.

The beauty of the program is that it doesn’t require you to do anything special. You don’t have to add anything to your home or business to take advantage of it. Simply decide that you’re going to go solar and set a date for the installation. As soon as the installation is complete, you’ll be able to start collecting your credits.

The Difference Between Residential And Commercial

Most residential customers will automatically be able to take advantage of the program. However, a few restrictions apply. First, your house must be built before 1998, and you can’t put it on the market as a new construction. Further, you can’t run a business from your home and claim the credit for business expenses. These restrictions are to ensure that residential customers are prioritizing their energy savings over any potential revenue from home businesses.

If you’re considering going solar but haven’t quite made the step up to commercial status, don’t worry. You can still get a lot out of the program by going through a commercial account. But you’ll need to satisfy a few conditions. First, you’ll need to commit to buying equipment (such as solar panels) specifically for commercial use. Second, you’ll need to have the equipment serviced and maintained by a professional, and you’ll need to notify Xcel Energy of the service contract. Finally, you’ll need to purchase enough electricity to cover your annual consumption — at least the amount listed on your last electricity bill.

How Many Kilowatts Can I Use?

The amount of electricity you need will determine your monthly kilowatts limit. You can use any amount between 0 and 100 to calculate the number of minutes you can run your appliances per day. So if you have a small appliance that uses 1 kW (~1,320 minutes) per day, you’ll only need to get 0% of your energy from renewable sources.

If you use a lot of appliances or have a lot of big appliances, you may want to consider an optional 20% increase to your daily limit. This will give you the flexibility to use more appliances without hitting your daily limit. For example, if you use 10 appliances that each draw 1 kW, you’ll need 10 × 1 kW → 10 × 1,320 minutes → 20% × 1,320 minutes = 24,960 minutes per day. This is still less than the total of your daily limit (100 × 1,320 minutes), so you’ll be able to use more appliances.

Do I Need To Be In Good Standing To Receive Credit?

You’ll need to be in good standing with your utility to take advantage of the Solar Rewards Program. If you’re currently behind on your utility bills and don’t want to worry about paying them off, you can ask your banker to set you up with a payment plan. Most likely, your utility will offer assistance with flexible payments, so you don’t have to worry about being able to pay off your bills on time.

When Do I Start Collecting My Credits?

The sooner you start collecting your credits, the sooner you’ll see the benefits. Xcel Energy doesn’t bank on loyalty—they bank on you using their services, which in turn, makes you a customer. So if you want to get the most out of the service, you’ll need to take advantage of it as soon as possible. Once you’ve installed the equipment and notified Xcel Energy of the service contract, you’ll be able to start submitting your energy bill and collecting your credits.

How Do I Know If I’m Using Enough Energy?

Just like any other utility bill, you’ll need to know how much energy you use each month. This is especially important if you’re wondering whether you’re using enough energy to take advantage of the Solar Rewards Program. Remember, you’re looking to reduce, not eliminate, your energy use. So you can start by monitoring your monthly electricity bills. From there, you can determine your energy consumption and whether or not you’re using enough.

If you find that you’re using a lot more electricity than you estimated, you may want to increase your monthly kilowatts limit. Conversely, if you find that you’re using less energy than you thought you would need, you may want to set your limit at a lower number. Remember, this is just a general suggestion. You can always contact Xcel Energy for more specific suggestions.

How Long Does It Take To See The Benefits Of The Program?

This varies from customer to customer, but most people will start seeing benefits within three months of installing the equipment. The sooner you start collecting your credits, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits of the program.

If you have a small appliance that uses 1 kW (~1,320 minutes) per day, you’ll start seeing benefits within 3 months. For example, if you get 0% of your energy from renewable sources and your daily electricity bill is $150, you’ll save $150 × 3 = $450 in your first month. This is money in your pocket.

If you have multiple small appliances that use similar amounts of electricity per day, you’ll see benefits from the program sooner. For example, if you have four small appliances that use 1 kW each, you’ll see your savings increase by $400 (4 × $150) in your first month. Remember, the sooner you start collecting your credits, the sooner you’ll start seeing the benefits.

Like any other utility bill, you’ll need to keep an eye out for any upcoming charges that could potentially revoke your credits. This is why it’s important to stay up to date on your monthly electricity bill. You don’t want to be penalized for something you didn’t know about.

What About Back-Up Electricity?

One of the main concerns people have when going solar is what will happen if the sun doesn’t shine or if a storm forces them to shut down their solar equipment. Fortunately, there’s a solution for this as well. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of heavy storms or a lot of sun loss during certain times of the year, you may want to invest in some back-up electricity. This could be either a generator or a battery system connected to your home wiring. The advantage of this setup is that it allows you to keep operating your solar equipment even if there’s no sun or if a storm takes out the grid. This is most beneficial if you want to keep using appliances that are sensitive to voltage fluctuations — such as air conditioners or heat pumps.

If you haven’t figured out how you’re going to pay for all of this yet, don’t worry. As long as you have a savings account or a credit card with a 0% interest rate, you won’t struggle to pay for it. Since the Solar Rewards Program offers a sign-up bonus of 20%, this will help you to cover the cost of the equipment in no time.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of Xcel Energy’s Solar Rewards Program, setting up an account is easy. Just visit the website, enter your zip code, and select the option that best suits your needs. From there, you can get an idea of how much money you’ll be able to save by going solar. Once you’ve decided that this is the kind of plan you want to go with, you can contact the company for more information. 

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