• 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
  • Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest

    The Agua Caliente solar farm near Yuma features First Solar’s thin-film cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar modules. Located 65 miles east of the city of Yuma, Arizona, this plant is one of the world’s largest operational PV power plants with 290MW (AC) connected to the electricity grid. 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 Know Your Rights
  • 2 Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest
  • 3 Solar Hot Water
  • 4 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 5 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 6 How Not to- Battery Connections

Blogs

  1. Solar Center Blog
  2. Guest Blogs
Jim Arwood
28 December 2016

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”  --Winston Churchill

Jim Arwood
24 November 2016

The future is not what it used to be.

In the 1990s, the push for electric vehicles gained momentum in response to national security concerns over our reliance on imported fuels and tailpipe emissions.


Will add Guest Blog content here
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Sat, May 27, 2017
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Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

Public Meetings:

Green Building Lecture Series

Re-purposed Materials: Finding Treasures for Reuse

Date: Thursday, June 1  The lectures are free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.

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

Reclaim. Reuse. Rebuild. Local reuse organization, Stardust Building Supplies, will give you an inside look into the process of building material reuse from the first steps of deconstruction and reclamation to how to transform your home with salvaged materials. Enjoy spectacular pictures of deconstruction projects, unique treasures, up-cycling, and remodels ... all while making your own creative reuse project.

http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/green-building-program

Admission: The lecture series is sponsored by the Scottsdale Green Building Program.
Contact: Anthony Floyd, green building program manager, city of Scottsdale,afloyd@ScottsdaleAZ.gov, 480-312-4202

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Our Twitter Feed

azsolarcenter "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” --Winston... https://t.co/YZUiXLzsKz
azsolarcenter The Sun Day Blog: The future is not what it used to be. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the question has... https://t.co/lSR5RFewJm
azsolarcenter Novermber 5, 2016 -- APS, pro-solar group together spend $6 million on Arizona Corporation Commission races: The... https://t.co/5xyq4EsoFm
azsolarcenter November 3, 2016 Solar Battles Playing Out On Arizona Ballot This Election: It may not be at the top of the... https://t.co/uYSRxv97YR
azsolarcenter November 4, 2016: Utility spends $3.5 million to keep Arizona Corporation Commission all-GOP: The state’s largest... https://t.co/imqk6z2sDU
azsolarcenter October 25, 2016: 42 States (and DC) try to screw with solar The 50 States of Solar Policy Report by the NC... https://t.co/JBYTzpf2ui
azsolarcenter October 24, 2016 -- Future of independent solar energy at stake in Corporation Commission raceL The long-term... https://t.co/D6jy4I5Ci0
azsolarcenter October 13, 2016 -- State policy matters: It is very easy to get distracted by the dog-and-pony show of this... https://t.co/MH7mEMg9MC
azsolarcenter October 16, 2016: Arizona Corporation Commission DebateL Five candidates running for three open seats on the... https://t.co/tm0XLl6CqG
azsolarcenter My Sun Day blog is posted to the Arizona Solar Center. https://t.co/vRrxwSSQpw
azsolarcenter There is No Plan(et) B: Climate change is no longer an issue that our politicians can kick down the road for... https://t.co/KHZzajZc9K
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/JmZSHlmBUI
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/rBgkaWKDs6
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/RzXaQACpPR
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/t1fKNTPwIB
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/dWEKk3QR6H
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/y4vhOpjfh1
azsolarcenter September 29, 2016: To cover a utility's fixed costs, are demand charges or time-of-use (TOU) rates superior?... https://t.co/RgneQWNKyM
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: Arizona Public Service not only rejected an Arizona Corporation commissioner’s request to... https://t.co/iip6RwoOOS
azsolarcenter September 22, 2016: The Salt River Project (SRP) board of directors has agreed to purchase energy produced by... https://t.co/xYegEuiI43
azsolarcenter September 18, 2016: UniSource Energy officials have shelved plans to use of land surroundingMohave Community... https://t.co/eXmHxo03wQ
azsolarcenter September 13, 2016: The city of Sedona spent about 90 minutes at its September 13 council meeting discussing... https://t.co/LHV2QcsvYt
azsolarcenter September 15, 2016: New solar research projects at Arizona State University will receive $3.75 million in funding... https://t.co/N20NYLWxGy
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: The parable of the frog and boiling water is hundreds of years old. It has been used... https://t.co/O5PYqvxIJg

Utility Solar issues in Arizona

  

Updated December 2016

Electric utilities in Arizona are involved in solar energy in many ways.  Utilities own or contract to purchase energy from large solar installations, both photovoltaic (PV) and thermal and distribute this energy to their customers.  The utilities are also involved with their customers when customer utility interactive photovoltaic systems are connected to the utility grid in order to safely operate their systems and account to the energy transfers.  Utilities call these smaller systems Distributed Generation (DG).  Some utilities have rebate programs or other incentives to encourage solar hot water systems because these systems reduce the peak demands placed on the utilities.

The economies of scale favor large utility-scale solar systems such as illustrated on the left above, these systems can produce energy for about 60% of the cost of rooftop systems, but the energy must be transported to the areas where it is needed, requiring transmission lines, transformers, and such.  About 10% of the energy is lost due to these transmission losses.

The utilities have to manage all the various electrical generation sources to balance the supply of energy with the customer use of energy, while keeping the voltage and frequency of the power within accepted limits.  Since both solar generation and customer needs vary, this has become more difficult as the percentage of solar generated energy is increasing.  Some of the generation resources, such as nuclear power plants, need to operate at constant power levels, while other sources such as natural gas turbines are designed to be variable.  Photovoltaic power systems can be shut off without damage if necessary to help keep energy balanced within the utility system.

When a connected PV system, residence, business, school, etc., is generating more energy than can be used locally, the extra energy is fed back into the utility grid where it is used by other utility customers.  The amount of solar generated energy thus fed back is metered by the utility.

The utilities account for this energy several methods.  Most popular for the customers is Net Metering wherein the utility acts like a free battery, allowing a customer to later use an equivalent amount of energy for free.  Another option is Net Billing wherein the utility basically purchases all the excess energy at a wholesale rate and sells all energy purchased by the customer at retail rates.  The rates are set/approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) (SRP is an exception since it is not an investor owned utility).  Generally, at present net metering is limited to systems that have an output that is 125% of less than the historic power demand of the customer.

The relationship between solar customers and the utilities is changing, see other articles on our website and watch the Blog for current news. On December 20, 2016 the ACC voted to allow utilities to abolish net metering and replacing it with a buy-back rate that will be set by rate hearings.  There is a provision for grandfathering existing solar customers already on net metering. DECISION on: INVESTIGATION OF VALUE AND COST OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION.  The Determinations, starting on page 169, are not very conducive to residential and commercial future photovoltaic systems.

The US electric grid continued to transform in 2016. No new coal plants were added, and solar became the top new source of generating capacity.

What Home Owners Need To Know About Battery Storage Systems

Since the sun does not shine at night we need a way to store daytime-generated solar energy. Net metering is an elegant and 100% efficient way to shift excess solar power, but that system will not work at high solar penetration levels. Never mind the fact that utilities are loath to allow their customers to generate electricity for less than it costs them to deliver this power. 

As a result, battery storage is on the minds of almost all new solar customers. Storage technology, incentives, favorable electric rates and control software are all evolving rapidly. There are currently about a dozen companies with battery storage systems designed for use with rooftop solar. Like peanut butter and chocolate, many solar companies are starting to offer battery storage systems along with their solar systems.

My advice is to proceed with caution. Even though off-grid battery storage systems have been available for years, we are at the very early stages of grid-tied solar combined with battery storage. From a hardware standpoint, battery storage costs are plummeting, and new inverters/charge controllers are being developed. Perhaps more importantly, software that will efficiently interact with solar, batteries, the grid and your home energy consumption still has limited functionality. For more about the practicalities of home battery storage, Listen Up to this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.

Barry Cinnamon http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2017/05/what-home-owners-need-to-know-about-battery-storage-systems.html

Arizona utility signs game-changing deal cutting solar power prices in half

Arizona solar array. CREDIT: Tucson Electric Power.

Tucson Electric Power to buy new solar power at under 3 cents per kWh, a “historically low price.”

Remarkable drops in the cost of solar and wind power have effectively turned the global power market upside down in recent years.

We’ve seen prices for new solar farms below 3 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) in other countries for over a year now, but before this week, not in the U.S. That changed on Monday when Tucson Electric Power (TEP), an Arizona utility company, announced that it had reached an agreement to buy solar power at the same game-changing price.

TEP says that this is a “historically low price” for a 100-megawatt system capable of powering 21,000 homes — and that the sub-3-cents price is “less than half as much as it agreed to pay under similar contracts in recent years.”

For context, the average U.S. residential price for electricity is nearly 13 cents per kwh, and the average commercial price is 10.5 cents.

NextEra Energy Resources will build and operate the system, which also includes “a long duration battery storage system” (whose price is not included in the 3 cents/kwh). Also worth noting: The sub-3-cents contracts that have been signed in other countries such as Chile, Dubai, and Mexico are unsubsidized, whereas U.S. prices include the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit.

PV Magazine reports “this is the lowest price” they’ve seen for solar yet in this country. And Bloomberg New Energy Finance chair Michael Liebreich explained last month that thanks to recent price drops, “unsubsidized wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world — sometimes by a factor of two.”

The TEP contract is one more sign that the renewable revolution is unstoppable.

Source: https://thinkprogress.org/arizona-utility-game-changing-solar-deal-8e7c0bcb093a

Arizona Court of Appeals rules no property tax for rooftop solar panels

Thursday (May 18, 2017) the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that companies leasing rooftop systems to homeowners should not be subjected to a new set of property taxes that the Department of Revenue only recently sought to impose on these businesses.

The ruling upheld a lower court judgment in part and reversed the tax court in part as well. The court ruled the state’s Department of Revenue incorrectly determined in 2013 a leased rooftop solar system should be subject to property tax by misinterpreting the laws that say otherwise.

Rooftop solar companies, SolarCity and SunRun sued the department, arguing the panels were designed primarily for customers’ own on-site consumption, not in the operation of an electric generation facility that sends electricity to customers over transmission and distribution lines.

The Department of Revenue reinterpreted the state’s law in 2013 and started valuing property for taxation for the first time, after thousands of panels had been leased without being assessed for taxation purposes.

From Rose Law Group: Court of Appeals rules no property tax for rooftop solar panels

(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents one of the taxpayers that prevailed in this ruling.)

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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