What’s Really Green and What’s Really New
Ask Americans what the Green New Deal is all about, and you’ll get two basic answers. Most often you’ll hear, “It’s about moving to renewable energy in order to fight climate change.” You’ll also hear, from a camp further right, “It’s all about socialism!”
Wishing you a wonderful and Happy New Year!
The year 2017 has gone by quickly, and AriSEIA has accomplished a full and active agenda to further solar and renewable energy in Arizona.
Reminder- Arizona tax credit information is available here: Arizona Tax Incentives
The Arizona Corporation Commission has posted a PROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION FACILITIES.
Proposed new rules covering connecting to the utility power grids in Arizona has been posted and a notice by the Hearing Division to hold oral proceedings to receive public comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on March 28. 2019. at 10:00 am. or as soon as practicable thereafter. in Room 722 at the Commissions offices in Tucson. Arizona and on March 29, 2019. at 10:00 a.m. or as soon as practicable thereafter, in Hearing Room No. I at the Commissions offices in Phoenix. Arizona.
A somewhat complex NOTICE can be downloaded at http://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000195373.pdf
UPDATE 1-24-19: ACC approved new draft interconnection rules At their Jan. 16 meeting, Commissioners preliminarily approved a set of rules that could help link renewables and batteries to the grid, making it easier for customers across the state to utilize.
There is a good description of these new rules and their significance at: https://tinyurl.com/ya24baws
SRP is proposing three new Price Plans for Rooftop Solar
SRP is proposing three new price plans for residential customers who produce their own energy with rooftop solar and other technologies. Two of these options have no demand charge associated with them. See the SRP Proposal. Be sure to open the 'View graphics'. Specific rates are not shown. The Arizona Solar Center will have further details later.
APS announces 2018 ended with 16,479 applications and 14,818 installations:
Note: APS applications peak in August due to deadlines to freeze APS purchase rates for 10 years.
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.
Announced 8/21/2017 4:26 PM
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.
Resource Comparison Proxy (RCP) Export Rate
In addition to the typical requirements, to qualify for RCP the solar system will need to meet the following criteria:
Use this link to learn more: Rate Rider RCP
Interconnection Application Checklist
The checklist used to review applications has been revised to include RCP qualification criteria, and is attached for your convenience. Please use this tool to ensure applications meet the qualifications and Interconnection Requirements for expeditious approval.
In order to qualify for RCP (see RCP requirements above), customers installing solar systems over 10 kW DC on a newly constructed home that does not have established usage history will need to provide load calculations stamped by an Electrical Professional Engineer in Arizona. These load calculations will need to be uploaded to the application under the document type “New Build Load Calculations”.
Resubmittals After Approval
In order to continue our efforts to streamline the application review process, applications that have new diagrams submitted after approval (i.e. change in equipment and new diagrams are uploaded) will need to be canceled and a new application will be required. The new application will be subject to the rate rider in effect at the time the complete application is submitted. This change is effective immediately. (See below, APS has extended this) Applications with resubmittals prior to today will continue to be manually processed.
Saver Choice Tech Plan Qualification (Formally known as R-Tech)
The Saver Choice Tech Plan Qualification application will be available online August 22, 2017. Customers interested in this experimental rate can apply if they meet the requirements.
Use this link to learn more: Saver Choice Tech
Solar Water Heater Incentive Program
The Solar Water Heater Incentive Program is now closed. Applications that have already been submitted will remain active.
We appreciate your patience as we process the high volume of applications received over the past several months. We will continue to work with you and answer any questions that may arise during this time of transition.
If you would like more information regarding the rate review decision, please visit azenergyfuture.com.
APS Renewable Energy Team
On 8/21/2017 5:35 PM, APS Renewable Energy emailed a revision:
We are contacting you again to provide a slight change and clarification regarding resubmittals after approval, which was mentioned in the Stakeholder Communication sent today. Due to feedback and some concern regarding this change, we will be postponing this policy until after the Grandfathering 180 day period is over.
It’s important to know that equipment changes or shortages do not extend the 180 day Grandfathering period.
We appreciate your feedback and flexibility.
APS Renewable Energy Team
The must-see panel of Intersolar North America (if you could only see one) discussed the most pressing issue in distributed solar today: What’s happening with net metering – and where does the industry go from here?
At 9 am on Tuesday morning, one of the most important issues in the industry was being debated in a conference room as part of the Intersolar North America trade show: net metering.
Across the nation, net metering policies are changing. The largest solar market, California, has moved to a successor policy, while other states including Hawaii and Indiana have shut the policy down entirely.
But looking beyond the more severe instances, an exploration of different states shows a definite shift in the direction of policies that attempt to put a more precise value on the electricity exported to the grid by distributed solar, along with a move to time-of-use rates. And more often than not the shift is more incremental than a step-change.
The assembled experts attempted to grapple with these big-picture issues, fragmented as they are in the individual experiences of different states.
Read the rest of the article on
By Bill Ellard, Energy Economist March 9, 2017
The net-metering battle has begun, as utilities across the US are lowering the price they are willing to pay for customer-generated electricity from solar. I am predicting a series of solar wars in the near future. They will be mainly between the existing monopoly electric utilities and the solar industry that is involved with behind-the-meter solar installations. Utilities are not against solar, as this new technology gives them another method to meet electricity demand, but what utilities dislike is their customers producing their own electricity by any means such as solar, wind, or other on-site generators. It means customers purchase much less energy from the utilities.
Up until about 2005, the United States was the leader in solar electric installations, but other countries such as Germany have become larger players. As we can see on the graph, solar was not growing much in the US until about 2011-2012.
This surge in solar installations starting in 2011 has created this first solar battle about net-metering. Before 2012 utilities in the USA had no reason to see solar as a threat to them, as the amount of revenue lost to customer self-generation was extremely small. So during this timeframe, utilities did not mind giving customers full retail credit for their excess energy.
Net-metering typically occurs between 10 am and 4 pm when a customer’s solar system is producing more electricity than the onsite loads require: the sun is shining and the occupants are off at work. This “extra” energy is sent back through the utilityowned meter and into the grid; typically, it amounts to about 20-30% of the electricity produced by the solar system.
Net-metering means full retail credit for one’s excess energy; your bill would have it energy usage reduced, and if your usage goes negative, then you get a rollover credit for you next month’s bill. The battle is about the utilities wanting to change this credit on customers’ bills so that it’s lower than the retail rate of electricity. This has started discussions about the concept of “the value of solar” for utilities in many states.
Many utilities were startled after 2012 by the large increase in rooftop solar installations. In many locations this lost revenue was still not significant, but the growth and trends were disturbing.
Utilities are regulated on a stateby-state basis by their respective public utilities commissions, or PUCs.
The first three states to enter into the net-metering battle were California, Arizona and Nevada, due to excellent solar insolation and relatively high electric rates. Earlier this year, in California, the PUC rejected any changes to net-metering, while in Nevada the PUC allowed the utility NV Energy to reduce its credit to customers by 75% reduce how much they credit consumers bills by 75%.
The Nevada decision is still being altered and reviewed, but Solar City, one of the nation’s largest residential installers, has left Nevada due to this PUC decision.
What happens next in the net-metering battle?
We had an electricity war over 100 years ago – the current wars. This battle was between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse: Edison wanted a direct current grid, while Westinghouse fought for alternating current. This war was fierce and very public, as the solar wars are becoming today. Nikola Tesla’s patent for the inductive motor was the innovation needed to help decide the “war of the currents.” Inductive motors work with AC, not DC, so when Westinghouse licensed Tesla technology he was able to defeat Edison, and now we have the AC electric grid. Free markets today are helping to decide our solar war about net-metering. This free market competition in the solar industry has brought down the cost of solar-generated electricity to under 3 cents per kwh.
We are seeing innovation in the energy storage space. Remember the typical residential solar system only nets back to the grid about 20-30% of its production. Most of the electricity produced by a solar system is consumed directly in the home. The reason this is important is that to effectively eliminate net-metering back to the grid, you don’t need a lot of storage. Could it be a strange twist of fate that the company called Tesla can use technology, just as the firm’s namesake Nikola Tesla did, to decide this battle in energy?
The short-term impacts of the net-metering battle will adversely affect residential solar installations in the United States. This will happen on a state-by-state basis, depending on the political leanings of each state’s PUC. Here are some of states that are either in, or may soon enter, the net-metering battle: Arizona, Nevada, Maine, Florida, and Alabama.
The biggest short-term loser may be Sun Power due to its exposure to the United States residential market, and its weak cost structure as mentioned in my last article on solar.
The longer term impacts on the solar industry are much more interesting. This net-metering battle is driving innovation in the energy storage and inverter space. Tesla has already announced that it will develop the solar roof and its own inverter/storage technologies. Tesla is buying Solar City, so the combination of the two firms can continue to innovate to eliminate the need for net-metering.
In my opinion within a few years, all residential solar installations will have storage, smart inverter, and curtailment control. In this case with no electricity being passed to the utilities equipment and grid, customers will not even need to notify their utility of their new solar system – or ask for “approval.”
With these longer term impacts in mind, I see this as a positive for several companies: Enphase Energy , Solaredge Technologies, Tesla, and Aquion Energy. All these firms are spending money on research and development on smart energy storage, and have shown to be quite innovative. I do see a technological battle between lithium ion battery and aqueous flow type technology in the near future.
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