Category: Solar Power

XCEL’s Summer Time of Use Rates

Are you looking for ways to save on your electricity bill? The team at Golden Solar Electric is here to help you find more ways to save. All you need is an AMI meter, also referred to as a smart meter, which the majority of XCEL customers possess. One of the easiest ways to save money is by using your electricity during off-peak hours. Off-peak hours is any time before 1pm and after 7pm during the week, and all day on weekends and holidays. This gives you 18 hours in a day to run your appliances at the lowest cost. If running your appliances around these times is inconvenient for you, you can also use electricity in the mid-peak window, which will still save you some money vs. peak rates. Mid-peak hours are from 1pm-3pm and are the next best option outside of the 18 hour window for the off-peak hours. Shifting your usage can save up to 17 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer months (which is over a 60% savings per kilowatt hour!). If you use more electricity during peak-hours, which is from 3pm-7pm, you may be spending up to 28 cents per kilowatt hour used. In addition to this, weekends and holidays will be treated as off-peak hours. So if you are unable to do this during off-peak during the week, you can always wait until the weekend to run your heavy appliances and take advantage of the off-peak being applied to weekends. XCEL also provides a break down on your bill for when you were pulling power from the grid and tells you how often you are consuming during off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak. XCEL Energy has a detailed summary of what and when the different peak hours are. If you want to learn more about it, click the following links. XCEL Time of Use Billing Info and XCEL Solar TOU FAQ

Here is a link to a useful seminar from the University of Nebraska’s Center for Agricultural Profitability. It covers the economics of solar in rural areas especially where electrical coops are the electricity providers.  It is worth watching if you own a farm or ranch where food is produced or have a business in a rural area.


Economics of Behind-the-Meter On-Farm Solar Electric Systems (May 11, 2023 Webinar) | Center for Agricultural Profitability (


They recommend solar that covers no more than about 75% of your usage on a meter, because of the lower value of solar electricity sent to the grid.  But in Colorado, especially where there are electrical coops, such as Highline Electric Association (, which charge mainly on the basis of kilowatt hours used, and not so much for peak demand, getting systems that are designed for up to 100% of usage to even 120% of usage works well, particularly on pivot and other irrigations systems where almost all the electrical usage is during the irrigation season.  Some use outside of the irrigation season such as for grain dryers can improve the economics of solar electric systems, even more.


The most important things that improve the economics of photovoltaic systems are two features of the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2021.  The biggest one is that Rural Energy for America (REAP) grants now can be used to cover 50% of the cost for solar for agricultural production and/or for any rural businesses.  That is up from 25% from earlier years.  The other feature is that the tax credit available to help cover the cost is back up to 30%, and this can even be 40% when the materials used in the installation are domestically produced, although the IRS guidelines to get this 10% bonus are not yet available.  And that tax credit can now be refundable.  (Ask your tax preparer for details on this.)


So between the tax credit and the Department of Agriculture grants, 80% of the cost of solar electric systems installed to make electricity used for agricultural production or for rural businesses are covered by incentives.  This puts return on investment in photovoltaic systems for farms and ranches and for rural businesses in the 20% range with paybacks of 5 years or less.

Started back in 2005, the popular Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) would have dropped from 26 percent to 22 percent this year, and then eliminated altogether. But Congress has just agreed to extend it for four more years on residential installations, and permanently on commercial installations. Used to offset the cost of installing solar electric systems on a home or business, the ITC allows property owners to install a renewable solar energy system on their home that will typically pay for itself in seven years. Because solar panels have warranties of 25 years or more, a solar energy installation can insulate you and your energy bills from the ups and downs of the economy for years to come. From the new legislation, a solar electric system installed on your home will get a dollar for dollar ITC in years 2021 and 2022 at 26 percent, an ITC of 22 percent in year 2023, and an ITC of 10 percent in year 2023. Commercial installations follow the same step down schedule, but will continue to claim the 10 percent ITC through 2025 and beyond. For more information on solar installation incentives at your location, see: For more information about solar interconnection in Xcel Energy service area, see:

Can solar panels be recycled?

In recent years, the solar industry has not been a major contributor to landfills because of the long life expectancy of solar panels.  However, as solar continues to grow rapidly and systems reach the end of their useful life, recycling will become increasingly important in the coming decades.  In the future as much as 96% of materials used in module manufacturing will be able to be reused for new panels, including glass, plastic, silicon, aluminum and other metals.

Read more:

The Recycling Process
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Sometimes advanced solar plus energy storage systems do not appear to be cost-efficient under traditional cost-benefit calculations. However, if costs incurred from future power outages are considered, this balance can change very quickly.  These costs could include the loss of essential services such as air conditioning and water pumps, medical equipment failure, liability incurred because of the lack of power or inability to keep critical businesses operating. Considering resilience in solar system design is particularly relevant in light of increasing frequency of extreme heat and high-wind events. For more details, see
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