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Xcel Blames Snow Cover for Poor Performance of Solar Panels During Polar Vortex

A meeting was held last week at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to determine how well Minnesota’s utility companies weathered the polar vortex that brought bitter-cold temperatures to our state at the end of January. Overall, it was a very bad day for Xcel Energy, but as bad as it was, it should have been worse.

During their testimony, Xcel Energy representatives stated that the company’s solar panels only produced 8 to 10 percent of their potential output because of snow cover. Xcel Energy posted a profit of $1.1 billion in 2017, and you’re telling me they can’t pay a high-schooler to scrape off their solar panels for a little extra cash?

This is simply baffling and a complete and utter waste of ratepayer finances.

To me, the fact Xcel didn’t bother to clear the snow off their solar panels suggests they didn’t think it was worth it, from a cost/benefit standpoint. Yet, Xcel wants to build more solar because they get a guaranteed 7.5 percent profit on every dollar they spend on power plants, including solar panels, whether they produce electricity or not.

Minnesota lawmakers need to put the brakes on this sort of irresponsible spending on solar power and let families and businesses spend their money somewhere it won’t get snowed under.

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