Lighthouse Solar Is Getting Off the Solarcoaster
Lighthouse Solar is getting out of the solar installation business in Colorado, saying that market conditions created by Xcel Energy and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) have made doing business in Colorado too difficult and unpredictable.
According to an article in the Boulder Daily Camera, Lighthouse said the state’s current setup allows Xcel to dominate the solar market while roughly 350 private contractors are forced to compete for a fraction of the business Xcel gets. Xcel is forecasted to install about 50 MW of solar panels in 2014, while Lighthouse and its competitors have only been able to bid on commercial contracts totaling 7 MW. Seven MW is roughly one-eighth the capacity that Lighthouse said it can handle annually.
While Xcel acknowledged to the Daily Camera that having numerous commercial contractors competing for 7 MW of business does not make sense, it countered that all of its solar installations are subject to PUC approval. The utility said it can propose and file for MW but until the PUC approves them, Xcel cannot move forward with the projects. Lighthouse fired back, saying that the PUC’s processing time works to Xcel’s advantage.
Lighthouse Solar is the University of Colorado’s primary contractor. The company also installed the 1.2 MW rooftop solar system at Flatirons Crossing Mall in Broomfield—the largest rooftop system in Colorado.
Lighthouse will continue operating out of its installation offices in Austin, Texas, and New Paltz, New York. Its Lumos solar products will continue to be sold across the country.
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