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ACC Ruling On Fee For APS Solar Customers

Arizona Corporation Commission makes a political decision without adequate information

The Arizona Corporation Commission held hearings Nov 13 and 14 on the Arizona Public Service Company’s (APS) proposal to add significant fees for households with solar panels.  See my Solar Energy and Net Metering blog posted Nov 6th for my perspective and additional details on the heated debate that was being waged about household solar energy and “net metering”.  On Nov 14 the ACC decided by a 3 – 2 vote to institute a minor new fee on residential solar customers who install their systems after January 1, 2014 (70 cents/kw capacity, or $4 to $7 per month for typical size systems). 

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Solar Energy & Net Metering

Arizona can and should be the solar capital of the world.  We can be a leader in solar energy research and development and in producing power from our abundant sunshine while creating jobs and wealth for our state.  APS (Arizona Public Service) and the solar industry (in particular those installing solar panels on homes) are at war with each other …  have you seen the TV commercials… about the financial arrangements between the utility company and homeowners with rooftop solar.  Current Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) policy provides a significant incentive for homeowners to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and feed this power back into the local electric distribution line.  And with “net metering” policies, solar producing homeowners are billed based on the net of the electricity they use from their local utility minus the excess solar electricity they produced beyond their own need which was sent into the utility distribution system.

  APS argues that solar users do not pay their fair share of the cost for maintaining the electricity production and distribution system from which they still benefit and APS also argues electric utilities are required to pay too much for the power homeowners are producing.  The rooftop solar industry argues first, that homeowners who have invested in solar are already providing benefits to APS customers in excess of what APS pays them and, second, that the proposals by APS would significantly reduce rooftop solar installations and ruin the industry.  I am sure you would not be surprised to learn that APS and the Solar Industry both have studies proving their points and that they both undervalue the points made by their opponent. 

Here is what I believe:  ..... click on read more ......

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