Thursday, April 24th, 2014 - 9:08 am 
(Arizona time)

News Highlights

This is the opportunity for Arizona Public Service leaders to have the conversation about net metering they told GTM they wanted. APS VP Jeff Guldner said the utility wants to "make decisions based on what the costs are. But the solar leasing companies and TUSK, the Arizona activist organization led by Barry Goldwater, Jr., are trying to shut down that discussion." 

"It is not credible for them to say the solar industry doesn't want a discussion," responded Court Rich, Rose Law Group Renewables Chair. But APS (NYSE:PNW) wants to control the discussion, while the solar industry wants it in front of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which will ultimately decide the issue after a hearing before an administrative law judge, Rich explained.

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Local architects are saying that environmentally conscious, sustainable building design practices are here to stay and demand for them is increasing. However, there is some disagreement as to whether or not the pursuit of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification will increase as well.

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The net metering dispute between utilities and solar installers will burn hotter after this response from Arizona Public Service to Sunrun Co-CEO Edward Fenster's remarks on net metering last week. APS is Arizona's dominant electricity supplier. The 44 net metering policies in place across the U.S. support solar by requiring regulated utilities to reimburse customers at retail rates for the solar-generated electricity they send to the grid. But net metering is increasingly controversial -- while solar owners' utility bills roll back to zero they escape most of the infrastructure surcharges that are part of other electricity users' bills.

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Sunshine is abundant in Arizona – and so is information about solar energy through Solar One Stop AZ. A multi-agency collaborative of Pima County and the city of Tucson, Solar One Stop’s mission is to “spread information on affordable, quality and efficient solar technologies for homes and businesses,” say its staff members. Pima County regional solar coordinator Betty Stamper said the office has information for all manner of solar installations, from the biggest solar farms to individual homeowners.

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Lew Levenson and Alan Kline will never go back — they have saved way too much money.

#Both men have solar panels on their homes and enjoy electric bills less than $50 a month.

#“We tend to be larger users...we’re totally electric,” said Levenson. “I finally got it (solar) installed a year ago. My use had been running $250 to $325 per month. For the month of March a year ago my bill was $45. You can see why I thought it was a mistake!”

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Arizona and the Phoenix area have taken some strides in cleantech growth — mostly on the shoulders of the solar power industry — but both the state and region have a lot of people in front of them. A report out this week from Clean Edge Inc. ranking the states and the largest U.S. metro areas in terms of how they are evolving as clean technology epicenters has Arizona solidly in the top 20 but Phoenix clinging to that spot.

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If there's one constant in the lives of Arizona Corporation Commission members, it's that they will invariably have a lot of folks from the Sun Cities at their meetings discussing anything remotely resembling a rate hike. So the group Tell Utilities Solar won't be Killed, or TUSK, is enlisting the help of those in the Sun Cities when it comes to getting its point across at the commission when it comes to solar and net metering.

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Arizona Public Service Co. officials say they aren't married to cutting net metering funding. In fact, they aren't locked in to any one solution to deal with the growing number of rooftop solar systems.

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After receiving a perplexing electric bill for his dentistry office in Snowflake, Craig West is much more skeptical of solar-electricity investments these days. His solar panels generated 62 more kilowatt-hours of electricity than his business used, giving him a total usage of negative 62. But he still had a bill of more than $180.

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Perhaps more than any other building type, school facilities have the potential to directly enhance the user's experience through sustainable design. This is evidenced through standards for design such as the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED for Schools rating, which addresses factors affecting student health and achievement.

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A study released today shows that distributed solar generation (DG) and net energy metering will provide Arizona Public Service (APS) customers with $34 million in annual benefits. The study was commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and was authored by Tom Beach of Crossborder Energy. Using data from APS' 2012 Integrated Resource Plan and other APS data, the study examines the costs incurred and the benefits generated by distributed solar over the useful life of a distributed solar system -- 20 years. This is consistent with how APS approaches long-term resource planning.

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The debate between Arizona Public Service Co. and solar companies over policies about how solar power from rooftops is paid and what it means to the utility is going to get a broader debate, courtesy of the Arizona Corporation Commission. The ACC on Thursday decided once the utility was done with a spring of technical conferences to decide how net metering should be structured, the ACC will start holding public hearings that could effect other state utilities.

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HB2404 Building codes; energy efficiency (Carter)

 

  • Did not come to the House Floor this week.
  • Interpretation is that there is a probability that there are not currently votes enough to pass.
  • Continued public expressio of concern is necesssary to let legislators know of opposition to this bill.

 

HB2404 prohibits local government from adopting more energy efficient building codes, which is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy use and save ratepayers money.

Source: Sierra Club Arizona Chapter Update for May 10, 2013

When two of Arizona’s neighbors, California and Nevada, decide to abandon coal-generated electricity in favor of renewable and natural gas, the writing is on the wall: The days of the Navajo Generating Station and other coal-fired power plants are numbered.

So why are utilities in California, Nevada, Iowa and Colorado bailing on coal while SRP is adding more? This is a fair question and the Arizonans who will get stuck with the bill deserve an honest answer.

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The solar-powered aircraft making a landmark cross-country flight successfully completed its first leg early Saturday, and will rest about a week in Arizona before taking to the skies again. Solar Impulse HB-SIA touched down about 12:30 a.m. at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. Video footage shows the pilot, Bertrand Piccard, stepping out with a smile and a wave, holding up a flag bearing the name of the aircraft.

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Last week, Greentech Media's sixth annual Solar Summit kicked off with a session entitled "Thriving Amidst the Chaos," and after two days of deep and sometimes heated discussions on the seemingly muddled state of the industry, analysts and audience members alike gained access to a mountain of new information and perspectives. With the first quarter of 2013 in the rearview mirror and an increasingly hazy back-end to 2013, GTM Research's analyst team highlights key takeaways from the conference.

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A leading solar installer accused Arizona's largest utility of trying to "crush" net energy metering earlier this week. Arizona Public Service Company is currently conducting a series of technical workshops on the cost of solar in the state, the second largest market for distributed generation. Arizona currently requires utilities to procure 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The mandate also includes a 30% carve-out for distributed grid. APS has 24,000 customers who have installed solar systems on their homes or businesses, 16,000 of them net metered.

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I am proud that our schools in Scottsdale are leading the way when it comes to solar energy. Last year, The Arizona Republic reported that the Scottsdale Unified School District saved $300,000 because of solar power. Rooftop photovoltaic panels offset energy costs, and any excess power is sent back to the grid. I am worried that those days may be coming to an end.

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The Arizona Corporation Commission's solar energy policy is about to drive into a ditch. Extricating it will be neither simple nor easy. In 2006, the commission deemed that regulated utilities had to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Although there's a token amount of wind and other sources in the mix, in Arizona, renewable principally means solar. Since solar is more expensive than other sources, the commission has approved a surcharge on the bills of captive costumers to provide a subsidy.

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Threat to homeowner credit could doom industry, insiders say. APS continues to maintain their position.

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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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