Xcel Energy plans to revamp a rewards program for customers who have solar panels on their roofs.
In the past, customers who placed solar panels on their homes received a large rebate up front. Xcel says with the prices of solar panels dropping, customers will still be able to save money under the new program, but the savings will be spread out over a 10-year period.
During that time, a customer will earn 8 cents for every kilowatt hour the solar array produces -- rather than just getting the cash for having the panels installed.
"It will encourage better placement of solar panels, we believe, for optimal production," said Deb Sundin, who directs renewable energy strategies and planning for Xcel.
The rooftop solar program is one way Xcel Energy will work to meet a new solar energy standard that was signed into law earlier this year. Minnesota's investor-owned utilities must produce 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar by the year 2020.
Xcel says it hopes state regulators will sign off on the changes in February.