• Know Your Rights

    Arizona law protects individual homeowners’ private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy. This law sustained a legal challenge in 2000. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of homeowners in a lawsuit filed by their homeowners association seeking to Read more
  • Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest

    The Agua Caliente solar farm near Yuma features First Solar’s thin-film cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar modules. Located 65 miles east of the city of Yuma, Arizona, this plant is one of the world’s largest operational PV power plants with 290MW (AC) connected to the electricity grid. Read more
  • Solar Hot Water

    There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. The typical solar water heater is comprised of solar collectors and a well-insulated storage tank. The solar collector is a network of pipes that gathers the sun's energy, transforms its radiation into heat, and then transfers that heat to either Read more
  • Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    (Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009) Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit State: Federal Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies Applicable Sectors: Residential Amount: 30% Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximumSolar water heaters placed in service before Read more
  • Solar Building Design in Arizona

    The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases Read more
  • How Not to- Battery Connections

    Photo shows the situation after a battery discharge test at 300 amps was terminated on a 1530 AH IBE battery string when one post melted. During the discharge test all cell voltages are logged. The sum of the cell voltages was 2.73 volts lower than the 48-volt string voltage. This is an average of 118 mv per inter-cell connection, 5-10 Read more
  • 1 Know Your Rights
  • 2 Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest
  • 3 Solar Hot Water
  • 4 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 5 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 6 How Not to- Battery Connections

Blogs

  1. Solar Center Blog
  2. Guest Blogs
Geoff Sutton
25 November 2017

In the desert south-west the intense sunshine and long summer days result in uncomfortable and even dangerously high temperatures for about four months.

Jim Arwood
28 December 2016

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”  --Winston Churchill


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Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

ASEA REBOOT

The Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA), State Chapter of the American Solar Energy Society ASES), will be holding meetings in a follow-up to the-long awaited updated ASES‚  Chapters handbook and directives.

ASES evolution, in response to some problematic economic and operational conditions, has resulted in a hearty and robust context for the present and the future. ASEA is now responding with an appropriate updating, through local and statewide discussion. 

Interim Chair, Andy Gerl, a past ASEA Chair and Board member, is making arrangements for Arizona solar advocates and supporters, members and non-members, to receive both an update re: ASES adaptation and changes, and to discuss solar in Arizona and the “reboot" of the ASEA  context, goals and objectives, within the context of varied renewable energy groups within the State, such as AriSEIA (the solar trade association); various sustainability groups; Green Building organizations; the recently formed solar hot water businesses non-profit entity; research and development at the universities; and others.

For more information about the ASEA Reboot discussions, contact Andy at andrew@blazingsolar.com  or 602-799-5942

APS Rate Case - Higher rates, solar changes now effective as of September 1st

APS customers had until August 31st to submit complete interconnection applications to APS in order to be grandfathered under earlier solar policy.  Basic rates have increased and net metering was eliminated, replaced by a fixed purchase rate that starts at $0.129 per kwhr and will decrease in the future.  Further details are posted in a link below.

Quick APS Links:

News Release (Aug. 15, 2017)
Summary for Residential Customers
Summary for Business Customers
Solar Grandfathering Fact Sheet (also see the note below for additional information)

The Arizona Solar Center has put together an unofficial summary of the new APS rate schedules for new solar customers, click here.

On August 21st APS emailed the following information to Stakeholders (but it does not seem to be on the APS website):

Stakeholders,

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has approved a decision in our rate review, and we are happy to share some details with you affecting our solar customers. We appreciate your support in delivering this message to customers and will be glad to help you with any questions you may have. For your reference, attached are letters that were sent to customers regarding grandfathering. Other resources are available at aps.com/gosolar.

Grandfathering

  • Current solar customers that are interconnected to the APS grid will remain grandfathered for 20 years from the date of interconnection.
    • The grandfathering stays with the premise. Systems transferred to a new premise will require a new application, and the customer would no longer be eligible for EPR-6.
    • Over the terms of the grandfathering period, a customer may not increase the capacity of their grandfathered solar system by more than a total of 10% or 1 kW, whichever is greater.
  • Customers who submit a complete application by 11:59 p.m. August 31, 2017 will be eligible for grandfathering. The system would need to be installed and have AHJ approval by February 28, 2018 in order to qualify. A complete application includes all of the following:
    • Customer Application
    • Executed Contract
    • Disclaimer
    • Consumer Acknowledgement
    • Installer Application
    • Three Line Diagram
    • Site Plan

Public Meetings:

Green Building Lecture - Economic Value of Green: Knowledge is EmPOWERing

Scottsdale’s Green Building Lecture season kicks off with a panel of industry leaders on the economic value of green. 
 
These free programs run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the dates listed below at the Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road. RSVPs are not needed.

Green Building Lecture Series

Solar Energy and Battery Storage Systems

Date: Thursday, Dec. 7

Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.

This is an exciting time for renewables and on-site energy storage systems as solar continues to take off in the valley. Just this year, Scottsdale has had a record year with more than 500 residential solar electric installations and a growing number of battery storage system installs.  

ASU Senior Sustainability Scholar Paul Hirt will discuss the solar energy revolution, why solar is coming faster than anyone expected and how it will change our world. His current research includes a history of electric power, transition to renewable energy, and collaborative interdisciplinary research on water use, urban growth and sustainability.

Titan Solar Power Director of Business Development Jack Walker joins Hirt. He’ll discuss residential battery storage options for utility-connected solar photovoltaics systems. Walker is set to address homeowners’ concerns about time of use rates, controlling demand charges and having a backup system in the event of a utility grid failure. For some homeowners it’s about control over time of use rates, for others it may be about controlling demand charges while for others it may be about having a "back up" system in the event of utility grid failure.

For more information see the 'Next Lecture' section of this link: http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/green-building-program

The  scheduled lecture series includes:

  • Feb. 1, 2018 – Living an Edible Landscape Life
  • April 5, 2018 – Building with earth and Mass in the Desert 
  • June 7, 2018 – Heating and Cooling with Ductless Mini-Splits

Further information on this worthwhile program

General News feed

Caution- News leads open in new windows. Warning- These news links are automatically generated by others such as Google News and are not reviewed by the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. We are not responsible for link content.

Our Twitter Feed

azsolarcenter "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” --Winston... https://t.co/YZUiXLzsKz
azsolarcenter The Sun Day Blog: The future is not what it used to be. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the question has... https://t.co/lSR5RFewJm
azsolarcenter Novermber 5, 2016 -- APS, pro-solar group together spend $6 million on Arizona Corporation Commission races: The... https://t.co/5xyq4EsoFm
azsolarcenter November 3, 2016 Solar Battles Playing Out On Arizona Ballot This Election: It may not be at the top of the... https://t.co/uYSRxv97YR
azsolarcenter November 4, 2016: Utility spends $3.5 million to keep Arizona Corporation Commission all-GOP: The state’s largest... https://t.co/imqk6z2sDU
azsolarcenter October 25, 2016: 42 States (and DC) try to screw with solar The 50 States of Solar Policy Report by the NC... https://t.co/JBYTzpf2ui
azsolarcenter October 24, 2016 -- Future of independent solar energy at stake in Corporation Commission raceL The long-term... https://t.co/D6jy4I5Ci0
azsolarcenter October 13, 2016 -- State policy matters: It is very easy to get distracted by the dog-and-pony show of this... https://t.co/MH7mEMg9MC
azsolarcenter October 16, 2016: Arizona Corporation Commission DebateL Five candidates running for three open seats on the... https://t.co/tm0XLl6CqG
azsolarcenter My Sun Day blog is posted to the Arizona Solar Center. https://t.co/vRrxwSSQpw
azsolarcenter There is No Plan(et) B: Climate change is no longer an issue that our politicians can kick down the road for... https://t.co/KHZzajZc9K
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/JmZSHlmBUI
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/rBgkaWKDs6
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/RzXaQACpPR
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/t1fKNTPwIB
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/dWEKk3QR6H
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/y4vhOpjfh1
azsolarcenter September 29, 2016: To cover a utility's fixed costs, are demand charges or time-of-use (TOU) rates superior?... https://t.co/RgneQWNKyM
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: Arizona Public Service not only rejected an Arizona Corporation commissioner’s request to... https://t.co/iip6RwoOOS
azsolarcenter September 22, 2016: The Salt River Project (SRP) board of directors has agreed to purchase energy produced by... https://t.co/xYegEuiI43
azsolarcenter September 18, 2016: UniSource Energy officials have shelved plans to use of land surroundingMohave Community... https://t.co/eXmHxo03wQ
azsolarcenter September 13, 2016: The city of Sedona spent about 90 minutes at its September 13 council meeting discussing... https://t.co/LHV2QcsvYt
azsolarcenter September 15, 2016: New solar research projects at Arizona State University will receive $3.75 million in funding... https://t.co/N20NYLWxGy
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: The parable of the frog and boiling water is hundreds of years old. It has been used... https://t.co/O5PYqvxIJg

APS Follow up to Interconnection Workshop- 2015

Subject:

Follow up to Interconnection Workshop

Date:

Fri, Mar 20, 2015 3:51 pm

From:

APS Renewable Energy

 

 

Stakeholders,

 

Thanks to all who attended the February 9th interconnection workshop or sent written comments—we received terrific suggestions and feedback.  Presentation materials are posted at aps.com/renewables. We were asked to provide a summary of changes to our interconnection requirements, and we posted it to the same page. The 2015 interconnection requirements themselves (rev. 8.0) are now posted at aps.com/dg, and all updates are highlighted for your convenience. Careful attention to the APS Interconnection Requirements will greatly speed the customer’s interconnection time!

   

Without further ado, here is the list of questions from the forum about the process of interconnection—that we promised to address:

   

Q. Why is APS taking test meters that are not marked with a  RECYCLE sticker?

A. We should not be!  Please email us with a reservation ID if this occurs and we’ll rectify the situation.  We have escalated this with our field services team to ensure this does not happen. Per Section 9 of the Interconnection Requirements, for fast-track residential interconnections, you can now simply provide a meter cover made of approved materials such as Plexiglas, rather than leaving a test meter—this will reduce the chance of similar errors in the future.  Please note that as we discussed on 2/9, test meters are required for systems 12kW-AC+; systems with 3+ inverters; supply side taps; or battery systems.

 

Q.  What is the APS policy on lockboxes?

A. They may be allowed on some commercial installations if a facility cannot comply with the APS 24/7 access policy; they are not allowed on residential installations.  We have updated our interconnection requirements to clarify the commercial facility exception.

 

Q.  Does APS have a guide to reading meters? A. Yes.  Instructions for reading bi-directional and non-standard (production) meters are at aps.com.  Regardless of type, a meter’s display cycles through several fields of data, but total kWh flashes immediately after the time is shown.  If customers need help, they may call 602-328-1924 or 1-800-659-8148 for assistance.

 

Q.  (1) Can APS show more fields on the installer report?  (2) If an installer is also listed as the dealer, can the online application navigation be changed so that you stay in the application after one certification has been processed and more quickly complete the other certification?  (3) Can a comments section be added to the installer view to provide more transparency on redlines?  (4) Can you add a message center to broadcast application queue/work flow “APS is processing applications submitted on XXX date.”  (5) Can APS clarify language in approval emails to reduce customer confusion? A.  We liked these suggestions, and we have completed item (2) already.  It’s our hope to implement all of these changes; please stay tuned.

 

Q.  Can APS review interconnection applications redlines in a separate queue, rather than the customer going to the back of the line based on the newer submittal date? A.  We are open to both collapsing steps and changing the redline review procedure, and are reviewing these streamline options internally right now. We’ll get back with you shortly.

 

Q.  For O&M, we don’t want to wait for APS to remove the lock, seal, or meter.  How can we proceed with our work? A.  We have a same-day service where APS will pull meters and then return to reinstall them—please utilize this document as your guide to contact APS for upgrades, de-rates, repairs, expansions, etc. Cutting locks/seals or removing meters is considered tampering and will be reported to law enforcement if warnings do not halt this practice.

 

Q. Will APS allow electronic signatures on the disclaimer document? A. Unfortunately, this is not possible while regulatory decision language requires APS to collect a “hand-signed” document.

 

Q. The online certification asks installers to verify they have been paid in full; is this segment of the certification still needed? A. No, it is not; the paid-in-full invoice is an artifact of our incentive program requirements and has been ruled as not applicable to the interconnection program. We are removing this language from the certifications. 

 

Q. Is APS making any outbound calls to customers that delay the meter set? A. APS encourages customers to call 602-328-1924 or 800-659-8148 regarding their service plans.  An outbound call to customers with specific services plans (such as combined advantage or electric vehicle rates, for example) is triggered by our meter set request.  To avoid delay, customers should return our call as soon as possible so that we can complete the meter set in a timely manner.

 

Q. Several permitting questions arose.  Is it okay with APS for Prescott Valley to require a reservation ID prior to issuing a permit?  Paradise Valley isn’t issuing green tags—how can we avoid delays in that circumstance?  A. The authorities having jurisdiction set their own rules, however, we have reached out to Yavapai County to explain that we no longer have an incentive program.  We explained that it is certainly best practice for the customer to receive interconnection approval prior to the system being built, but we understood that sometimes permit applications are sent to the AHJs in advance of when the APS interconnection application is submitted—this in itself does not violate our process. Regarding Paradise Valley, APS still receives clearances from them directly—we’ll continue to note the clearance in the application once the clearance desk posts it to the customer’s account (this occurs the same day it is received from the AHJ).

 

Now that we have held the interconnection workshop and published the 2015 revision of the interconnection requirements, we are using the updated requirements and associated plan documents as our guide, and changes are effective 3/30/2015.  To avoid delays, please use only the 2015 materials as your guide when developing your interconnection applications/designs, and email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions. 

 

Thank you!

Sincerely,

APS Renewable Energy Program
 

Arizona Corporation Commission urged to fix solar net metering 'grandfathering' issue

Arizona Corporation Commission urged to fix solar net metering 'grandfathering' issue

By David Wichner Arizona  Daily Star            Updated Jan 6, 2017

Mamta Popat / Arizona  Daily Star 

APS, TEP and a number of solar industry groups argue that more customers should fall under current net-metering

The Arizona  Corporation Commission is being urged to amend its recent decision to end retail net metering for customers with rooftop solar, to correct the timing of when customers will be grandfathered under the old rules.

The commission voted in late December to scrap the current system of net metering, by which  customers with rooftop solar systems are reimbursed for their excess generation at each utility’s retail energy rate.

To replace net metering, the utility panel approved a policy in which  solar customers will be paid a new “export rate,” based on a proxy rate for power from utility-scale solar farms or on cost studies for each utility.

The solar export rates — expected to be a fraction of retail rates — will eventually be set as part of proceedings in pending rate cases filed by utilities including Tucson Electric Power Co. and Arizona  Public Service Co.

But a few days after the commission’s vote, Arizona  Public Service Co. filed documents urging the commission to amend its decision.

APS noted that under an omnibus amendment passed after two full days of debate, the final order grandfathers under the current net-metering rules only customers whose systems are interconnected with their utility when the new rates go into effect. Grandfathered customers will keep their net metering rates for 20 years from the time their systems were turned on.

But APS said  it believes the grandfathering period was  intended to extend to customers who  submit an interconnection application by the effective date of the decision issued in their utility’s rate case, not when they are actually interconnected, which  could occur weeks later.

“Otherwise, whether a customer is grandfathered could be determined not by when a customer makes a decision to submit an application to interconnect, but instead by the volume of (rooftop solar) applications received, among other factors outside a customer’s control,” APS said.

Since APS filed its request to correct the decision, parties including TEP, the state Residential Utility Consumer Office, the Vote Solar  Coalition, the Alliance for Solar Choice and the Arizona  Solar  Energy Industries Association have filed documents in support of the change.

In a letter supporting APS’s position, the Arizona  Solar  Energy Industries Association said  if the grandfathering issue is not fixed, “the sales and installations of solar in Arizona  will immediately and abruptly stop in some areas of the state.”

“The error in language is minor but the implications are potentially devastating,” AriSEIA President Tom Harris wrote in a letter to Commissioner Andy Tobin, who sponsored an amendment that became a catch-all for modifications negotiated during the open meeting. “We do not believe this was  your  intent.”

In a filing on Wednesday, the administrative law judge in the solar case agreed with change urged by APS and the other parties and asked the Corporation Commission to take up the issue at its next open meeting Jan. 10-11.

UPDATED: The judge's recommended amendment on grandfathering is on the Corporation Commission agenda for Jan. 10-11.

Solar Applications in Arizona - Civano - Gallery

Courtesy, Arizona Solar Center

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A house under construction in the Civano community, located 18 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona

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The Community Center under construction. Upon completion, the Community Center was equipped with a 4.0 kWp photovoltaic power system and a solar hot water system

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Many of the homes being built at Civano use alternative building materials. This house is using straw bales

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Civano houses are designed with front porches to encourage a sense of community -- where neighbors know each other

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Many Civano homes use shading techniques to help reduce solar gain

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Local utility company, Tucson Electric Power, has guaranteed the heating and cooling portion of the Civano homes' utility bills

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The Civano Community Center under construction

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Shading and landscaping have long been used as way to keep buildings cool during Arizona summers

NOTEPhotos obtained from the photo gallery are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to Photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.

Solar Applications in Arizona - Solar Facilities - Gallery

Courtesy, Arizona Solar Center

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Covered parking with integrated PV array at the Yuma Proving Grounds

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PV power plant in Tempe

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Solar home in Phoenix

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PV powered telecommunications site

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Rooftop PV array in Central Arizona

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PV power plant in Central Arizona

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Chandler home with roof-mounted PV array

 

NOTE: Photos obtained from the photo gallery are to be used for lawful purposes only. Any commercial use must receive prior approval from the Arizona Solar Center. Credit shall be given to Photographer along with Arizona Solar Center, and no affiliation with Arizona Solar Center is to be implied.

About

  • Welcome to the Arizona Solar Center

     This is your source for solar and renewable energy information in Arizona. Explore various technologies, including photovoltaics, solar water heating, solar architecture, solar cooking and wind power. Keep up to date on the latest industry news. Follow relevant lectures, expositions and tours. Whether you are a homeowner looking to become more energy efficient, a student learning the science behind the technologies or an industry professional, you will find valuable information here.
  • About The Arizona Solar Center

    Arizona Solar Center Mission- The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona. About the Arizona Solar Center- The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered Read More
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