Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Does APS support solar or are they trying to kill it?

As I talk to people in the solar industry and sustainability community around town, I've heard great concerns about the upcoming Arizona Public Service rate case. Some say that APS is trying to kill rooftop solar by getting rid of net metering.

So I went to Darla Deville, our local rep, and asked her to give us APS's perspective. What follows is what she sent me. I'm curious. Does this alleviate your concerns or confirm them? Does this seem fair to all parties and will it support dramatic expansion of renewable energy in this state or stand in the way of progress?

We want to understand what the issues and concerns are. What should citizens be asking for if they contact the Arizona Corporation Commission regarding this case? Most citizens don't know much about how utilities operate so we need to explain the issues in plain English.

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Hope the following information helps to inform and educate our customers and community members on what’s currently taking place across the nation- not just in the State of AZ or in APS service areas.

·         Regarding the Value of Solar (VOS) and net-metering:
o   The ACC took action in December based on facts and a need to move solar forward, while protecting customers who do not have solar.  This was NOT part of the APS rate review, it was an issue that has been on their docket  for some time- with a ruling that affects all customers and utility companies in the State.
o   APS statement on the VOS decision was positive and shows why it could allow solar to flourish- Please note that rooftop solar isn’t the only kind of solar APS supports.

·         APS reached agreement on the rate review with a number of groups including the rooftop solar industry, with a  compromise that furthers Arizona’s solar leadership. In fact, the group Kris Mayes was working for is a signatory to the agreement.
·         Links to  settlement agreement news release and summaries, pointing out that several rooftop solar organizations are part of the settlement agreement. 

·         APS continues solar leadership through policy and programs like our Solar Partner Program
·         By the end of 2016, 50% of our diverse energy mix was carbon-free. We reached this level with a combination of traditional and renewable energy resources and energy efficiency actions.
·         2016 marked the seventh year in a row that the EPA awarded APS with its highest honor–the ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award–for continued leadership in protecting the environment through energy efficiency.


  1. Bloomberg mentions AZ as one of the states cutting back on what they have to pay solar customers. Tesla Is Halting Door-to-Door Sales for SolarCity Amid Slowdown - Bloomberg

  2. I've been poking the local APS rep for a plain language explanation. Here's her answer, which is not going to help us get to 100% renewables.

    "Bottom line, as explained in the reference links sent: Yes, net metering is eventually going away. Customers will get credited for the excess energy they send back to the grid. In our settlement, the rate starts as 12.9 cents per kwh and would be adjusted annually.

    Please understand- the “Value of Solar” was determined as a STATE policy by the ACC in December 2016. The only element specific to the APS rate case is setting that 12.9 cents, which is HIGHER than it would have been under the “Value of Solar” formula.

    For details and reasons for ACC decision- you will have to follow up with them."