Friday, April 18th, 2014 - 7:14 am 
(Arizona time)

News Highlights

Solar Plant Plans Heating Up For Chino Valley

At its Jan. 14 regular meeting, the Chino Valley Town Council approved a conditional use permit for a 20-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility immediately north of the northwest corner of the Town.

 

Building Better Homes In Indian Country

Tribes are using green building techniques in new homes. The movement is still in its early stages, but the projects are replicable . It's a matter of workforce development and teaching these skills to the next generation."

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Phoenix Tries To Rise Above the Flames

 

Phoenix is the poster-child for the "Urban Heat-Island". Studies show that asphalt finished with a special green or blue coating stay about 20 degrees cooler than conventional black lots. Spread that across the thousands of lots that freckle the valley's sprawl, and you could begin to combat a problem largely of the city's own making: the hellish heat that now dominates its summers.

 

Mesa Agrees to Solar Lease for Municipal Buildings

The City of Mesa has entered into a solar lease for PV installations at a fire station/police station and a multigenerational center. The installations, on parking canopies, is estimated to save $660,000 in utility costs over the 20-year lease agreement.
Read more.

 

PPA Approved In Western Arizona

La Paz County and the Town of Parker vote to approve solar power purchase agreement.
Read more.

 

Three More Schools Go On Solar Grid in San Luis

Four San Luis schools are now drawing their power from the sun. The Gadsden Elementary School District's solar installations are rated at 1.8 MW.
Read more.

From:       SRPSOLAR - DEPT ID [ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Sent:        Wednesday, April 02, 2014 1:53 PM
Subject:   SRP SOLAR INCENTIVE LEVELS ANNOUNCED FOR FY15 (MAY 1, 2014 - APRIL 30, 2015)

SRP is announcing new incentives for our fiscal year beginning May 1. Please see below for program specific information on incentive levels, high-level program changes, and links to SRP web pages for more information.

Residential Solar Incentive Program

SRP’s Residential Solar Electric Program – FY15 Incentive Level $0.05/watt

The residential solar electric incentive rate will be $0.05/watt for all residential projects, retrofit and new construction.  SRP has reserved $537,500 to add 10.75MW of residential solar electric retrofit capacity in fiscal year 2015 (May 1, 2014 – April 30, 2015). Additionally, SRP has reserved $62,500 for homebuilders to add 1.25MW of new solar electric capacity.On May 1, 2014, updated application and program documents will be available online atwww.srpnet.com/solarcontractor.  If you have any questions about the residential solar electric program, please contact us by emailat This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (602) 236-4661. 

SRP’s Residential Solar Water Heating Program – FY15 Incentive Level $0.30 per kWh

The residential solar water heating incentive rate will be $0.30/kWh ($0.24/kWh for a prorated system). SRP has reserved $504,000 for residential solar water heating system installations in FY15. Only electric back-up systems are eligible for this program. Also, the entire electric system must be OG-300 rated and cannot use any type of gas appliance whether or not it is in use. On May 1, 2014, updated application and program documents will be available online athttp://www.srpnet.com/environment/earthwise/solar/watercontractor.aspx. If you have any questions about the solar water heater program please contact us by emailat This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (602) 236-4662. 

Commercial Solar Incentive Program

SRP’s Commercial Solar Electric Program – FY15 Incentive Level $0.05/watt

The commercial solar electric incentive rate will be $0.05/watt for all non-residential projects.  SRP has reserved $300,000 to add 6MW of commercial solar electric system capacity in fiscal year 2015. Of the 6 MW, 3 MW of capacity has been reserved for schools, non-profits, and governmental entities. The incentive will be capped at $15,000 for all projects. SRP will no longer offer Production Based Incentives in FY15.  On May 1, 2014, updated application and program documents will be available online at www.srpnet.com/solarbiz.  If you have any questions about the commercial solar electric program, please contact us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (602) 236-4663.

SRP’s Commercial Solar Water Heating Program – FY15 No Incentive

The commercial solar water heating incentive program will no longer be offered after April 30, 2014 due to lack of participation in this program.

SRP’s incentive levels for FY14 will be honored (up to program caps) for all complete applications submitted to SRP by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.

As a reminder, solar customers must submit an SRP Residential Solar Electric Program application, regardless of whether an incentive is being requested. All solar installations in SRP’s service area must meet SRP’s interconnection requirements and be approved by SRP.

SRP Solar Energy Team

Salt River Project

Mail Station PAB355 | P.O. Box 52025 | Phoenix, AZ 85072-2025

Ten months into the city using solar energy to power four of its buildings, city leaders are saying the results so far have exceeded their expectations.

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Professor Mike Pasqualetti spent the last week in the Palestinan city of Nablus as the lead instructor in a joint professional development training program between An-Najah National University and ASU.

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Note: Dr. Pasqueletti is a member of the Arizona Solar Center Board.

Georgia's solar energy businesses and consumers won an important victory yesterday with the state’s largest utility, Georgia Power, dropping a proposed solar customer charge after experiencing overwhelming Commission and staff disapproval.

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Washington Gas Energy Systems Inc. has signed a contract with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to build, own and operate a 1 MW solar array that will provide renewable energy to the utility in Tucson, Ariz.

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Across the U.S., utilities are squaring off against solar in what may be the dirtiest fight in clean energy. In one corner is the industry behind the electrical grid as we've known it, more or less, for a century. The challenger, still a pipsqueak in terms of market share—less than 1 percent of U.S. power—is rooftop solar. 

Those rooting for solar were historically environmentally conscious consumers willing to spend more to reduce their carbon footprint, but solar is now economically attractive to a broader base. Some utilities maintain this is because solar customers enjoy benefits at the expense of everyone else on the grid, and they're lobbying to have solar-incentivizing regulations eliminated or replaced.

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Arizona has become the first US state to introduce a charge on rooftop PV users in what America’s solar industry has described as a “precedent-setting” action. At the end of a two-day hearing over an increasingly contentious issue, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 in favour of allowing state utility Arizona Public Service to impose a US$0.70 per kilowatt charge on solar net metering customers.

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The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) made a ruling on November 14, 2013 regarding the net metering policy for utility customers in Arizona Public Service (APS) territory. The following points clarify what residential customers need to know about the decision:

  1. Current rooftop solar customers are not affected. They are grandfathered under current net metering rules for 20 years, regardless if home ownership changes.
  2. Customers who submit a signed contract with a solar installer and an interconnection application (including all required design documents) to APS by December 31, 2013, also will be grandfathered.
  3. Starting January 1, 2014, new residential solar customers will get full retail net metering credit for the solar they produce, but they will be subject to a monthly charge to help pay for their use of the electric grid.
    1. This monthly charge, based on the size of the solar system installed, is $0.70 cents per kilowatt, or $4.90 per month for the typical sized system.
    2. APS will provide quarterly reports on the pace of rooftop solar adoption to determine any future adjustments.
    3. The new policy will be in effect until the next APS rate case, which will be filed in 2015.
If you have any other questions, contact APS by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

In voting to impose a modest charge on new residential solar customers, Arizona's power regulators have ended, for the moment, a bitter fight between the rooftop solar industry and the state's main electric utility.

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Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission, by a vote of 3-2, approved changes to the rules and rates applying to rooftop solar in the Arizona Public Service territory. Chairman Bob Stump and Commissioners Susan Bitter-Smith and Bob Burns voted in favor. Commissioners Gary Pierce and Brenda Burns voted against the motion.

A fee of 70 cents per kilowatt/per month will take effect on Jan 1, 2014 for all new solar rooftop customers. The charge to new solar customers will average $4.48 per month. The fee will be in place until the next APS rate case can address the issue of cost-shift in greater detail.

Commissioners also agreed to review the rate of solar adoption on a quarterly basis and consider any adjustment to the fee at that time.

All rooftop solar homeowners as of Dec. 31, 2013 will be grandfathered under the existing rules and rates.

APS opposed the final proposal as not being in the best interest of its customers. The solar industry and the Residential Utility Consumer Office and ACC staff agreed to the final solution.

"While it is an interim solution, this compromise provides certainty for homeowners, installers, utility and ratepayers," said Jim Arwood, Communications Director for the Arizona Solar Center. "The industry testified that 70 cents would not kill solar in Arizona. Plus, there was agreement to have a broader discussion in the next rate case where so many additional options can be explored. The Commission also honored an action take by previous Commissions by upholding rates and rules that apply to existing rooftop solar homeowners."

More than 1,000 solar supporters showed up to a rally at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in the U.S. state of Arizona on November 13th, 2013, to express their opposition to a utility proposal to modify the state's net metering policy.

This marked the first of two days of hearings that the ACC is holding on Arizona Public Service Co.'s (APS, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.) proposed changes to the policy, which would give solar photovoltaic (PV) system owners a credit at a substantially lower rate than retail electricity rates for the power they produce.

Read more...

Three Yuma Union High School District schools have gone solar through the APS Solar for Schools Program.

School and public officials along with students and APS employees met last week to celebrate the installations of solar panels on their campuses.

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The question to ask in the debate launched by Arizona Public Service Co. about rooftop-solar energy is easy: What is the “right” price that APS should pay for energy produced by rooftop-solar panels?

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You may not be able to afford solar for your home, but you’re still already paying for it ... every month. Through an unfair cost-shifting practice known as net metering, hardworking Arizona families without solar panels are subsidizing the energy costs of solar households across the Grand Canyon State.

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The Tucson Unified School District is bringing solar energy to 43 campuses, with a goal of reducing its carbon footprint while potentially saving more than $11 million over the next 20 years. The solar panels will generate about 80 percent of the electricity required at each site.

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The debate over solar homes and net metering is continuing to heat up, particularly in Arizona. The state's largest utility, Arizona Public Service (APS) is coming under fire for its efforts to gut net-metering. On Oct. 20, The Arizona Republic ran an article showing that the utility was approached by a lobbying firm to help shape and change the state's regulatory body, the Arizona Corporation Commission, to make it easier for the utility to essentially do whatever it wants in terms of renewable energy. That revelation led to protests outside APS' headquarters this week and now the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) and the Alliance for Solar Choice are calling for investigations into the utility's lobbying efforts.

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Last week, an Arizona Republic investigation revealed that Arizona Public Service (APS) repeatedly lied about funneling money to political organizations to attack solar customers. Now, two Arizona solar organizations, the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) and The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), are calling for a thorough investigation by the Arizona Corporation Commission and Arizona Attorney General's Office, including an immediate review of APS's political spending and whether ratepayers have been, or will be asked to pay for such efforts.

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Arizona's largest utility admitted this week that it had paid a national conservative group to run anti-solar ads, after denying earlier in the year that it was funding the campaign.

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Donna DiFrancesco's home in the historic Evergreen District of Mesa is one of the homes featured on this weekend's Solar and Sustainable Home Tour. The purpose is to show the public simple things that can be done to make a home more green and sustainable, using renewable energy.

Read more (video news report embedded) ...

AzSC Blog

The Tucson Solar Potluck: A Who’s Who of Solar in Arizona

On April 26, the Tucson Solar Potluck will be held in the desert north of Tucson.  It is the 32nd straight year for the gathering of solar enthusiasts, a streak that some believe qualifies it as the longest continuously held solar event in the U.S.

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