Viewing Xcel Energy, Colorado
Change Location

About community solar

Community solar enables you to use solar power to save money on your electric bill without installing panels on your home. According to a study by NREL, 49 percent of homes in Colorado can’t go solar because they either lack enough roof space or are rented. With community solar, you can subscribe to a "share" of an offsite solar energy generating system. By subscribing to community solar, you pay for the amount of electricity generated by your share to the array owner and receive credit off your utility bill for the value of electricity your share of the community solar system produces.

How it works

Customers subscribe to a community solar electricity generating system.


Subscribers pay the array manager an upfront or monthly charge for the electricity produced by their share.


Subscribers receive credit off their utility bill for the value of electricity generated by their portion of the community solar system.

Who can participate

There are more than 70 community solar projects in Colorado totaling more than 55 MW in generating capacity. Many utilities including Xcel Energy, Black Hills Energy, Empire Electric Association, Delta Montrose Electric Association, Holy Cross Energy, Yampa Valley Electric Association, Fort Collins Utilities, San Miguel Power Association, and Poudre Valley Electric Association offer subscriptions specifically for low-income customers. Currently, we only support Xcel Energy’s community solar program. Xcel Energy has roughly 28 solar gardens across thirteen counties including Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Boulder, Conejos, Denver, Garfield, Jefferson, Lake, Logan, Mesa, Summit, and Weld. We are expanding our website to include more utilities as our capacity allows. Check back for more updates.

  • Renters
  • Homeowners
  • Businesses

Customers must live in the same or adjacent county as the community solar project. The community solar garden operator will facilitate your participation and provide you with the necessary documentation to get started.

Community solar billing

ABOUT ELECTRICITY BILLS

When you subscribe to a community solar garden, you receive a credit on your Xcel Energy utility bill. The credit’s value is calculated according to Xcel Energy’s CO Electric Tariff Book under the Solar Rewards Community Service section (Schedule SRCS). Community solar gardens generally offer lower prices for energy than the utility, which allows their customers to save on their utility bills. Caution: Savings are not guaranteed.

More About How Billing Works

Subscription types

The value of the electricity produced by a subscriber's community solar share is equal to the value of electricity that would otherwise be bought directly from your utility. The type of subscription you have will vary by project and provider. Each will have different terms that determine how much you pay for the energy, whether that cost goes up over time, and other important considerations explained below in the subscriber agreements section.

EXAMPLE SUBSCRIPTION TYPES

Fixed rate (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is at a fixed rate for the life of your contract.

Escalating rate (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is at a fixed rate to start but the cost goes up at a fixed rate yearly.

Percentage discount (kWh)

Each kilowatt-hour (kWh) you purchase from the developer is a fixed percentage below the cost of utility energy but may rise with the cost of utility energy over time.

Subscriber agreement

You should carefully review the subscriber agreement before subscribing to a community solar array. Your agreement should address things like the cost of the subscription, the length of the contract, termination fees, and more.

SUBSCRIBER AGREEMENT CONSIDERATION

Agreement terms

Subscriber agreements can last up to 25 years but vary by provider. Key agreement terms include:

  • Subscription type
  • Contract length
  • Additional fees
  • Start date
  • Date project goes into service

Exit provisions

There are many ways you can exit or transfer a subscriber agreement. Some may have fees. Key exit provisions include:

  • Transfer to someone else
  • Move within territory
  • Move out of territory
  • No fault exit (death, disability, etc.)
  • Other exit
More About Subscriber Agreements