Xcel Energy Renewable Energy Programs
Welcome to the tenth installment of Sterling Ranch's crash course on energy! In this email, we'll share some information about Xcel Energy's renewables programs and the benefits that buying into renewable energy can hold for you.
Xcel Energy's My Renewable Mix Calculator
Fully understanding your own energy use baseline is a good place to start in figuring out what energy action means for you. When it comes to energy action, two things matter: how much energy you use, and where it comes from. The percentage of the energy that you use that's carbon free is impacted by a few factors. An obvious one is whether or not you have a solar system on your home or participate in any renewables subscription programs to cover part or all of your energy use, but a less obvious one is what percentage of the energy that Xcel Energy provides to its customers is carbon free. Luckily, this information is publicly available from your utility. In 2020, for example, Xcel Energy's Certified Renewables Percentage was 31.9%.

If you're interested in seeing how much of your personal energy use is met by renewable energy, Xcel Energy's My Renewable Mix Calculator can do the math for you. Access the tool below to better understand where the energy that you use is sourced from.

Not satisfied with your renewable mix percentage? Continue reading to learn about some easy ways that you can source your home's energy from renewable resources and support the energy transition in your community!

Renewables Programs Offered by Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy offers a variety of programs that make it easy for participants to source their energy from renewable options! Read on below or at Xcel Energy's Renewable Energy site to learn more.
Net Energy Metering
If you buy or lease a solar system for your home, you can receive bill credits from Xcel Energy on days that you produce more energy than you use by selling the excess energy back to Xcel Energy. A net meter is a bi-directional meter that measures the flow of electric energy in both directions.

The bill credits you generate can be used to pay for the energy you use on days with low solar energy production, such as cloudy days.
Windsource® is one of the nation’s largest voluntary subscription renewable programs. If you opt in, you’ll add a small fee to your monthly energy bill to source your home’s energy from a wind farm.

Your Windsource subscription offers flexible enrollment and requires no equipment installation. The monthly fee is added directly to your energy bill, making it easy to go green.
A typical home using 750 kWh of electricity per month could be 100% Windsource-powered for just $11.25 more per month.

If you own or lease a solar system on your home, you can receive additional incentives on top of your net metering benefits through Solar*Rewards®. Through the program, Xcel Energy makes monthly or annual payments to the owner of the solar system in exchange for the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) produced by the solar system. Though you can receive additional benefits through this program, note that selling your RECs means that the "greenness" of the solar energy you generate on your home will be credited to Xcel Energy and won’t contribute to your personal or community energy goals.
Breaking Down Solar Options
In today's energy markets, solar energy production offers a variety of benefits to homeowners beyond purely environmental ones. For the average solar system on the average home, solar can meet upwards of 90% of energy demand.1 However, there are a few ways that you can go about purchasing solar energy. Read on to learn about the advantages of each option.
Leasing a Solar System
Leasing solar panels allows you to immediately save money on your energy bills for little to no upfront cost. Under lease options, your solar provider also takes care of any necessary system maintenance and is responsible for the proper disposal of your system at the end of its useful life, which takes some of the more complicated aspects of solar system ownership out of your hands.

Purchasing a Solar System
While solar panels may have a steep up-front price tag, the average time it takes to get a full return on investment is 7-10 years.2 With the average lifespan of a solar panel falling between 25-30 years, purchasing a solar system is a great way to set yourself up for low energy bills in the long term if you're planning to stay in your home for quite a while.3 While both lease and purchase options can set you up for savings on your utility bills, purchasing your system will result in a higher payoff.

Adding on a Battery System
While solar technology has been around for some time now, residential batteries are a relatively new addition to the green energy market. Battery technology enables the owners of solar systems to overcome the difference between when peak solar energy production and peak energy use occur each day, a temporal challenge known in the energy industry as the "duck curve" and explained further in the video to the right.
The ability of battery technology to store solar energy produced during the day to use once the sun goes down and demand increases allows battery owners to soften peak demand loads on the grid as well as avoid peak demand prices. In addition, battery ownership contributes to household energy security. If the energy grid experiences service interruptions in the case of severe weather events, owning a battery can keep essential systems in your household running on stored power.

Interested in learning more? Click here for a guide to some of the battery options that exist on the market today.

Tips for Energy Action
  • Calculate your personal renewables mix using Xcel Energy's tool to better understand where the energy in your home comes from! Take a moment to think about whether you're satisfied with the percent of clean energy that you use in your home. If you're not, what percent would you like to set a goal for?
  • If you'd like to increase your personal renewables mix, consider the renewable energy options listed in this email and think about what programs work best for your home. Would you like to commit to leasing or purchasing a solar system, or would a Windsource subscription be a better fit for you?
  • In a grid with an increasing number of solar energy resources, the duck curve presents a challenge to utilities looking to supply customers with clean, reliable electricity. Consider what energy intensive activities you may be able to move into the period of solar overproduction to maximize the utilization of generated solar energy.