DENVER (KDVR) — Xcel Energy owned and fixed major setbacks when it comes to connecting homeowners’ solar panels to the power grid, saying now they have cleared the backlog of people waiting to connect.

“We apologize. We certainly understand it’s frustrating to invest money in a system that is not generating. There were for sure some delays. We own up to that,” Jack Ihle, Xcel’s regional vice president of regulatory policy, said Tuesday.

Several viewers of FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to complain that solar panels installed months ago were still not working, and they were waiting on Xcel to connect them to the power grid.

“At one point, they were 4,000 applications behind. Now they are telling us they are caught up and we should be returning to a 2-4 week timeline,” said Mike Kruger, CEO of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association.

Kruger said the setback stemmed from demand, staffing issues within Xcel and software issues with the program processing all the applications.

“They did get a bunch of temporary support from different business units,” Kruger said.

Solar panel tax credit increased demand

Ihle said back in 2022, when the investment tax credit for solar passed, it increased the demand.

“The rate of those installations increased by 33% in late 2022,” Ihle said.

Now, Xcel has staffed up and added resources. He said they added 20 internal and external engineers to get through applications.

“We caught up from nearly 4,000 to zero in about 8 weeks,” Ihle said. “We are working through 500 or more a week.”

Kruger said he has heard from installers that things are running more smoothly.

“I had a dozen installers come up and say they had 20 applications approved in a day, and one said he had 50 approved in a day and he hadn’t had 50 approved in all of December,” Kruger said.

FOX31 and Channel 2 reached out to a homeowner named Stacie, who has had panels on since September 2022 but no hook-up to the power grid.

She told the Problem Solvers Tuesday she received a call from Xcel that they would be there Friday to install the new meter.