• New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance

    While there is a growing market for organic solar cells ­­– they contain materials that are cheaper, more abundant, and more environmentally friendly than those used in typical solar panels – they also tend to be less efficient in converting sunlight to electricity than conventional solar cells. Now, scientists who are members of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Read more
  • 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
  • Home Battery Systems

    Rooftop solar panels are common in Arizona thanks to abundant sunshine, but to get even more use from the technology, homeowners are beginning to pair them with large home batteries. Batteries allow homeowners to store their surplus electricity, rather than send it to the grid in exchange for credit from their electric company. 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 New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance
  • 2 Know Your Rights
  • 3 Home Battery Systems
  • 4 Solar Hot Water
  • 5 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 6 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 7 How Not to- Battery Connections

Blogs

  1. Solar Center Blog
  2. Guest Blogs
Lucy Mason
06 January 2018

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. 

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.


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Featured

Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

None known

 
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

This year the American Solar Energy Society is excited to partner with Solar United Neighbors in organizing the 2018 National Solar Tour. A national organization representing the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters, Solar United Neighbors helps people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. Together, ASES and Solar United Neighbors are working to organize the largest national solar tour in history.

There is one remaining open house on the schedule in Arizona: 304 W Coolidge St Phoenix AZ 85013 Saturday, October 20  9:00 AM – 2:00 PM. 

Please RSVP so we know you are coming! http://bit.ly/solaropenhouse-74

Upcoming:



Proposition 127  Constitutional Amendment

Arizona 2018 General Election November 6, 2018

 “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment.”

A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AMENDING ARTICLE XV OF THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA TO REQUIRE ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS TO GENERATE AT LEAST 50% OF THEIR ANNUAL SALES OF ELECTRICITY FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

There is a lot to this important Proposition and it will have an important affect on solar in Arizona. Television in Arizona seems to have continuous ads against and for this proposition.  Study the issues and vote in November.

Basically the Proposition will place an annual energy requirement on the Arizona utilities:

  1.  EACH AFFECTED UTILITY SHALL BE REQUIRED TO SATISFY AN ANNUAL RENEWABLE ENERGY REQUIREMENT BY OBTAINING RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDITS FROM ELIGIBLE RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES.
  2.  AN AFFECTED UTILITY’S ANNUAL RENEWABLE ENERGY REQUIREMENT SHALL BE CALCULATED EACH CALENDAR YEAR BY APPLYING THE FOLLOWING APPLICABLE ANNUAL PERCENTAGE TO THE RETAIL KWH SOLD BY THE AFFECTED UTILITY DURING THAT CALENDAR YEAR:


(A) IN 2020 NOT LESS THAN   12%  

(B) IN 2021 NOT LESS THAN   14%

(C) IN 2022 NOT LESS THAN  16%

(D) IN 2023 NOT LESS THAN  20%

(E) IN 2024 NOT LESS THAN 24%

(F) IN 2025 NOT LESS THAN 28%

(G) IN 2026 NOT LESS THAN32%

(H) IN 2027 NOT LESS THAN36%

(I) IN 2028 NOT LESS THAN 40%

(J) IN 2029 NOT LESS THAN 45%

(K) 2030 AND EACH YEAR THEREAFTER NOT LESS THAN 50%

The Proposition and For/Against statements are on the Secretary of State website at:https://azsos.gov/sites/default/files/2018_Publicity_Pamphlet_Final.pdf

War On Solar

9th Circuit ruling allows solar company to sue SRP

An Arizona utility can’t escape being sued for anti-trust violations for the rates it sets solely because it’s a quasi-governmental entity, at least not now — if ever, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by attorneys for Salt River Project that SolarCity cannot challenge its pricing system. The appellate judges said they have no authority to consider the finding of a trial judge in Phoenix who said the challenge should be allowed to go ahead.

While Monday’s ruling is specific to SRP and its claims of immunity from suit, the implications could be broader.

Unless overturned on appeal, it means SRP ultimately could have to defend in court the rates it charges customers who want to generate their own electricity.

That could lead to rulings on how broad is the ability of utilities, all of which are monopolies, to set rates in a way that could harm other companies. And that, in turn, could impact efforts by other Arizona utilities to increase costs to solar customers.

SRP spokesman Scott Harelson said an appeal is possible.

“We would argue that ours is a statutory pricing process and that the courts have no business setting rates,” he said. But Harelson said if the case goes to court, the company believes its rate structure — and the additional charges imposed on solar customers — can be justified.

That’s the same argument that is being advanced by utilities like Tucson Electric Power and UniSource Energy which have pending rate hike requests.

Arizona Public Service has reached a settlement with SolarCity and other solar companies. But that deal is contingent on review by a hearing officer and final approval by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Central to the debate is whether customers who install their own rooftop solar units and generate some of their own power are effectively being subsidized by others.

Attorneys for SolarCity contend SRP’s new pricing plan approved last year amounts to a “substantial penalty” on customers.

“Because solar customers are unable to completely disconnect from SRP’s grid — they still need power in the evening hours and at other times when their energy demands exceed what their solar energy systems produce — they cannot escape SRP’s penalty,” the lawsuit contends.

That penalty, according to SolarCity lawyers, is about $600 a year, an increase of about 65 percent over prior rate plans. That compares with an average 3.9 percent increase for residential customers who buy all their power from SRP.

“Customers recognize that SRP’s new pricing plan leaves them with no choice: After the effective date of SRP’s new plan, applications for distributed solar energy systems in SRP’s territory fell by 96 percent,” the lawsuit states.

All that, the lawyers contend, are part of SRP’s illegal efforts to eliminate competition and violate anti-trust laws.

SRP, for its part, contends the fact that the rates were approved by its governing board precludes the SolarCity lawsuit. Its attorneys said there was the legally required notice and comment period, public hearings, a board vote and an opportunity to challenge the board’s decision in state court, something SolarCity chose not to do.

Beyond that, Harelson said SolarCity can’t rely on antitrust claims. He said those laws “generally let businesses set their prices in a way that allows them to recover their costs, without regard to the impact of those prices on companies like SolarCity.”

That contention, Harelson said, is backed by the policies adopted by the Arizona Corporation Commission — which regulates utilities other than SRP — which concluded that utilities should be able to recover the cost of serving any particular group “and avoid shifting costs from solar customers to the rest of the customer base.” But the exact amount of what that figure is has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.

June 12, 2017

By: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

Arizona still a power in solar power, despite other states’ gains

The Solana facility near Gila Bend uses thousands of curved mirrors to focus sunlight,
which heats fluid that turns a turbine, creating electricity in the process. This plant
went online in 2012.

 Phoenix Business Journal

Jan 3, 2017, 8:09pm MST

WASHINGTON – A month after it announced plans to develop a new solar power plant in Gila Bend, Vasari Energy was back in November to double down on its Arizona investment, expanding the plant’s capacity to power more than 7,000 homes.

For California-based Vasari Energy it was a smart business move to bolster the company’s planned solar portfolio. But experts said it was just more evidence that Arizona is an ideal state for utility-scale solar projects, a status they expect will continue as the infrastructure needed for solar plants becomes more affordable.

“Arizona is a terrific place,” said Sean Gallagher, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s vice president of state affairs. “It’s got a lot of sun, a lot of clear days. There’s been a lot of installations on utility-scale projects. Which really contribute a lot to the numbers.”

Arizona currently ranks second in total installed solar capacity after California, the nation’s undisputed leader, despite rising challenges from new competitors across the South, such as North Carolina and Texas.

More than 100 solar facilities are operating or under construction in the state, according to SEIA data.

 

These projects could have a large effect on the Arizona economy, said Auriane Koster, a solar expert with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The development of the solar industry in the state has the potential to attract and keep a skilled workforce.

“A private investor coming in and doing a large solar plant is going to increase the economy in the state. That brings in more money in the state. It provides jobs,” she said.

Nearly 7,000 people in Arizona were employed in a range of solar industry jobs in 2015, according to a jobs census produced by the Solar Foundation. It’s a factor that Vasari Energy considered when deciding to move to Gila Bend, said Vasari Executive Vice President Sam Lipman.

“We also have to look at what we give back to the community with these projects. Obviously being a solar company, we look at things a little differently,” he said.

Besides the environmental benefits, the solar industry “can provide some high-paying construction jobs and good revenue to an area that is relatively remote.”

Once online, the planned Vasari plant could produce 140 megawatts of electricity for homes across the state from Gila Bend, a town that encourages energy companies to build solar plants through special zoning rules.

It would not be the largest solar energy producer in the state, but by solar-production standards the Vasari plant would be relatively large, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Solar-panel plants typically produce between one and 50 megawatts of power.

By comparison, Arizona’s fossil-fuel power plants are capable of producing between 200 and 2,000 megawatts. The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station can produce 3,937 megawatts of electricity, a commission spokeswoman said.

But in addition to its environmental and economic impacts, solar power boasts another benefit: When energy consumption is at its highest, so is its power source, the sun.

“It really helps in that solar is a peak-power fuel, so the highest, most costly part of energy (consumption) is during the daytime, the utility has to go out and buy power,” Lipman said. “If they have a ready source of daytime peak power it gives them more reliability.”

The more sunlight the panels collect during those hours, the more energy the plant can provide to utilities when customers need it the most.

Gallagher said utility companies in Arizona are becoming more comfortable with the idea of buying solar energy from large-scale solar projects to meet Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard. Arizona pledged 15 percent of energy generation would be renewable by 2025.

 

Will Trumping Obama’s Interior Department Help Solar?

December 20, 2016
By Andrew C. Bell
 
 
The solar industry is large enough to seek U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) regulatory relief, irrespective of any debate over climate change.
The President-elect is skeptical of anthropogenic climate change. He made clear on the campaign trail that he intends to roll back regulations affecting domestic oil and gas and coal production on public lands. But Mr. Trump has also evinced a more pragmatic, market-based “all of the above” approach to energy. Preserving and creating jobs appear to be some of his highest priorities. At 300,000 jobs to date, the solar industry is large enough to seek and possibly obtain regulatory relief in stride with more traditional resource extraction industries, irrespective of any debate over climate change.
Many Obama Administration initiatives will be reviewed by the Trump Administration to “identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that kill jobs and bloat government.” This article shows how Interior initiatives focusing on the solar industry may be modified as part of the Trump Administration’s broader effort to reduce regulation in general.
Landscape-Scale Strategies
The concept of landscape-scale public land planning has been a hallmark of Interior Secretary Jewell’s tenure. But developers across many industries believe Interior has used the concept to sharply restrict multiple-uses of public lands.
The new Administration will likely take a long and critical look at Interior’s landscape-level efforts. Chief among these will be Interior’s 67 million-acre Federal Sage-Grouse Strategy, which is currently subject to eight pending legal challenges. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “BLM Planning 2.0” rule, which seeks to update BLM’s planning regulations with landscape-scale concepts, is another example. The new Administration’s scrutiny of these planning efforts could extend to recent large-scale planning initiatives focusing on renewable energy.
Western Solar Plan
Interior’s six-state, 100-million-acre 2012 Western Solar Plan is one such plan. While presented as a planning initiative designed to encourage utility-scale solar energy, many in the industry view the massive series of land use plan amendments (LUPAs) as a hindrance, in no small part because the plan removed 79 million acres of BLM lands from development. The plan did set aside a quarter million acres as preferential solar zones, but the best management practices imposed on those zones have often been viewed as much more restrictive than would otherwise be the case.
When the oil and gas, mining and agribusiness industries seek relief from the new Administration for the Federal Sage-Grouse Strategy, the solar industry could collaborate to gain an audience over the Western Solar Plan as well. There is a reasonable chance of revision because the Western Solar Plan can be modified administratively by a series of LUPAs instead of by formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act or by act of Congress.
Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”)
The DRECP is a 22.5-million-acre LUPA that covers most of the southern quarter of the state of California, including some of the best solar and wind energy resources in the state. Initially presented as a tool for streamlining endangered species permitting for wind and solar projects on public and private lands, the DRECP has received a cold reception, with California counties notably refusing to sign on to the private lands segment of the plan.
BLM nevertheless pressed forward in September 2016 by adopting the plan insofar as it applied to BLM lands. That decision designated roughly 6.5 million acres of lands as off limits to any form of development. The DRECP process reduced California BLM lands open to solar development under the Western Solar Plan by more than 50 percent, with further restrictions imposed on the remaining acres. While all indications point to a Trump Administration that will not favor renewable energy development over fossil fuels, landscape-level LUPAs like the DRECP risk modification if they are perceived to limit economic growth through unnecessary regulation.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
On May 26, 2015, US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a Notice of Intent outlining a proposal for a rule requiring a multi-layered permitting program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The permitting program would regulate private activities that inadvertently injure or kill members of most bird species in the U.S.
The program would affect a wide range of industries and activities, reaching well beyond the renewable energy and oil and gas sectors that have been the subject of enforcement actions over the last several years. If finalized, the proposal almost certainly would draw legal challenges from industry stakeholders. No progress has been made since the initial announcement, however. The Trump Administration is unlikely to take the process any further.
MBTA enforcement may also be influenced by the new Administration. FWS has relied on Court of Appeal decisions in the 2nd and 10th Circuits to enforce (or threaten to enforce) the MBTA’s strict criminal liability provisions against multiple wind and oil and gas facilities, sometimes resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements.
However, the 5th, 8th and 9th Circuits have disagreed with this interpretation, holding that the MBTA applies to purposeful activities only (such as unlicensed hunting) and does not apply to unintentional “take” of migratory birds. The Interior Secretary under the Trump Administration could rely on the 5th, 8th and 9th Circuit court precedents to issue a regulation, or at a minimum, an internal policy memorandum, that prohibits enforcement of the MBTA against non-purposeful forms of take.
This could help the solar industry. In June 2016, Region 8 of FWS released a draft bird and bat conservation strategy template that replicates similar guidance for the wind industry by recommending significant monitoring burdens for all photovoltaic facilities over 20 MW. While not mandatory, FWS would exercise “prosecutorial discretion” over enforcement of the MBTA in exchange for compliance with the guidance. Region 8 has indicated the draft template could be replicated nationally.
Industry members have opposed the draft, in no small part because of a lack of conclusive data showing a “lake effect” that causes disproportionate avian mortalities at PV projects.
FWS Region 8 lies within the 9th Circuit. If the Trump Administration eases enforcement of the MBTA, it would be a small step to extend its directive to Region 8’s proposed guidance as well.
Wind and Solar Competitive Leasing Rule
On Nov. 10, Interior released a final rule to establish a framework for the designation of preferred designated leasing areas (DLAs) for wind and solar projects that would be subject to competitive leasing rather than the current first-in-time, first-in-right regime.
The rule would also codify certain wind and solar bonding, rental, megawatt capacity fee, and pre-application policies implemented by BLM for the past five years without formal rulemaking. The solar and wind industries have strenuously opposed the rule.
Whether the competitive leasing concept remains will likely depend on whether the Trump Administration decides to alter the analogous competitive leasing regime applied to public land oil and gas leases for the past 30 years. The top-down DLA zoning concept might strike a Trump Administration as contrary to a market-based approach. The megawatt capacity fee may be perceived as an illicit tax outside Interior’s statutory mandate.
However, the final rule likely will be published in the Federal Register before Dec. 22, 2016 and therefore take effect before the President-elect is sworn in. If that is the case, rescinding or modifying the competitive leasing rule would require a new rulemaking. The formal rulemaking process may handicap efforts to modify a rule that focuses almost exclusively on renewable energy facilities.
Conclusion
There is little doubt Interior will place greater emphasis on the consumptive use of resources under the Trump Administration. In addition to reducing restrictions on fossil-fuel development, President-elect Trump’s focus on creating jobs and reducing regulation in general could extend regulatory change to the solar industry as well, irrespective of climate change persuasions.

 

Green Building Lecture Series - Season Opener: Can Green Homes become the standard?

Sample only- Need to find out how to limit displayed length

Date: Thursday, Nov. 5 2015
Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Title: Can Green Homes become the standard in Scottsdale? A Look at Scottsdale's New Green Home Standards

Location: Scottsdale Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road (northwest corner of McDowell and Granite Reef, behind the convenience store)

We’ve been busy updating standards for what home dwellers expect in a green healthy home. Why does it matter and how we can do better? Get the answers to these questions and more at the Nov. 5 Green Building lecture season opener. Participants will get an overview of the city’s updated green home standards and will hear about practical applications from Alan Kravitz, Bella Verde Homes; Tom Norris, Norris Architects; and Kevin Edwards, Edwards Design Group. They will discuss how the new green home standards are being used in their projects to create healthier, water resourceful and energy efficient environments which include “living fences,” developer supplied vegetable gardens, rain water collection, gray water reuse, cooler paving materials, ground source heating and cooling, solar powered micro-grid, and universal design for aging in place.

Speakers:

  • Alan M. Kravitz, AIA, President, Bella Verde Homes
  • Kevin Edwards, Principal, Edwards Design Group
  • Tom Norris, AIA, Norris Architects

For more information about this program, go to City of Scottsdale - Green Building Program

Admission: The lecture series is sponsored by the Scottsdale Green Building Program. The lectures are free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

Contact: Anthony Floyd, green building program manager, city of Scottsdale, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
480-312-4202.

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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