Xcel Energy shares policies for customers wanting to use solar panels

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Whether to save money or support renewable energy, the interest in solar panels has picked up in the last couple of years.

“It’s not thousands but I would say in the hundreds,” said Wes Reeves, senior media relations representative at Xcel Energy.

According to Xcel, customers who generate their own electricity with home solar panels, generally want to stay connected to the central distribution grid for backup purposes.

While others are looking to sell back surplus energy.

Although this may sound convenient, the energy company is urging its customers to understand pricing before closing the deal.

“The price we pay for surplus energy is not the same price you pay at a retail cost,” said Reeves. “So, we’re looking more at what we called an avoided fuel cost. Most recently, it has been under two cents a kilowatt hour so it’s not the retail rate that you’re going to be paid on.”

If you choose to sell surplus energy, the energy company will install a special meter for a $20 monthly fee.

Another option is to simply remain connected to the grid for backup without getting compensated for any surplus.

“One, you’re reusing green house energy and two, you’re making it more sustainable for nature,” said Joshua Partheepan, assistant professor college of engineering at West Texas A&M University.

While there are many aspects to consider before investing in solar energy, Patheepan says that for homeowners in Amarillo, it might be better to invest in storage batteries as the customer can get the maximum power utilization.

“The maximum energy from the solar panels are produced during the afternoon hours, but the maximum energy that the consumer uses on an average is in the evenings so, you’re pretty much exporting all you generate in the afternoons to the grid and getting paid minimally,” said Patheepan.

It’s important to make sure the solar equipment you install is compatible with Xcel and to call the company before moving forward with installation.

To learn more about installing solar panels in your home, call (806) 378-2165.

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