This winter, Citibank Research issued a report in which it concluded the utility industry is a dinosaur waiting to die.
January 2014 News HighlightsSource: Various Sources
At its Jan. 14 regular meeting, the Chino Valley Town Council approved a conditional use permit for a 20-megawatt photovoltaic solar facility immediately north of the northwest corner of the Town.
Tribes are using green building techniques in new homes. The movement is still in its early stages, but the projects are replicable . It's a matter of workforce development and teaching these skills to the next generation."
Phoenix is the poster-child for the "Urban Heat-Island". Studies show that asphalt finished with a special green or blue coating stay about 20 degrees cooler than conventional black lots. Spread that across the thousands of lots that freckle the valley's sprawl, and you could begin to combat a problem largely of the city's own making: the hellish heat that now dominates its summers.
The City of Mesa has entered into a solar lease for PV installations at a fire station/police station and a multigenerational center. The installations, on parking canopies, is estimated to save $660,000 in utility costs over the 20-year lease agreement.
La Paz County and the Town of Parker vote to approve solar power purchase agreement.
Four San Luis schools are now drawing their power from the sun. The Gadsden Elementary School District's solar installations are rated at 1.8 MW.
Lake Havasu City: Solar energy generation exceeding expectationsSource: Today's News-Herald
Ten months into the city using solar energy to power four of its buildings, city leaders are saying the results so far have exceeded their expectations.
ASU Professor visits Nablus to assist in renewable energy developmentSource: Arizona State University (ASU) School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning
Professor Mike Pasqualetti spent the last week in the Palestinan city of Nablus as the lead instructor in a joint professional development training program between An-Najah National University and ASU.
Note: Dr. Pasqueletti is a member of the Arizona Solar Center Board.
Solar Fee Defeated in Georgia Power Rate CaseSource: Renewable Energy World
Georgia's solar energy businesses and consumers won an important victory yesterday with the state’s largest utility, Georgia Power, dropping a proposed solar customer charge after experiencing overwhelming Commission and staff disapproval.
Tucson Electric Power Signs PPA For 1 MW Solar Project In ArizonaSource: Renew Grid
Washington Gas Energy Systems Inc. has signed a contract with Tucson Electric Power (TEP) to build, own and operate a 1 MW solar array that will provide renewable energy to the utility in Tucson, Ariz.
The dirtiest battle in clean energy heats upSource: CNBC
Across the U.S., utilities are squaring off against solar in what may be the dirtiest fight in clean energy. In one corner is the industry behind the electrical grid as we've known it, more or less, for a century. The challenger, still a pipsqueak in terms of market share—less than 1 percent of U.S. power—is rooftop solar.
Those rooting for solar were historically environmentally conscious consumers willing to spend more to reduce their carbon footprint, but solar is now economically attractive to a broader base. Some utilities maintain this is because solar customers enjoy benefits at the expense of everyone else on the grid, and they're lobbying to have solar-incentivizing regulations eliminated or replaced.
Arizona sets precedent with solar net metering chargeSource: PV Tech
Arizona has become the first US state to introduce a charge on rooftop PV users in what America’s solar industry has described as a “precedent-setting” action. At the end of a two-day hearing over an increasingly contentious issue, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 in favour of allowing state utility Arizona Public Service to impose a US$0.70 per kilowatt charge on solar net metering customers.
What residential customers need to know about the ACC net metering decisionSource: Arizona Solar Center (AzSC)
- Current rooftop solar customers are not affected. They are grandfathered under current net metering rules for 20 years, regardless if home ownership changes.
- Customers who submit a signed contract with a solar installer and an interconnection application (including all required design documents) to APS by December 31, 2013, also will be grandfathered.
- Starting January 1, 2014, new residential solar customers will get full retail net metering credit for the solar they produce, but they will be subject to a monthly charge to help pay for their use of the electric grid.
- This monthly charge, based on the size of the solar system installed, is $0.70 cents per kilowatt, or $4.90 per month for the typical sized system.
- APS will provide quarterly reports on the pace of rooftop solar adoption to determine any future adjustments.
- The new policy will be in effect until the next APS rate case, which will be filed in 2015.
Compromise in Arizona Defers a Solar Power FightSource: New York Times
In voting to impose a modest charge on new residential solar customers, Arizona's power regulators have ended, for the moment, a bitter fight between the rooftop solar industry and the state's main electric utility.
Special Alert - ACC Decision on Net MeteringSource: Arizona Solar Center
A fee of 70 cents per kilowatt/per month will take effect on Jan 1, 2014 for all new solar rooftop customers. The charge to new solar customers will average $4.48 per month. The fee will be in place until the next APS rate case can address the issue of cost-shift in greater detail.
Commissioners also agreed to review the rate of solar adoption on a quarterly basis and consider any adjustment to the fee at that time.
All rooftop solar homeowners as of Dec. 31, 2013 will be grandfathered under the existing rules and rates.
APS opposed the final proposal as not being in the best interest of its customers. The solar industry and the Residential Utility Consumer Office and ACC staff agreed to the final solution.
"While it is an interim solution, this compromise provides certainty for homeowners, installers, utility and ratepayers," said Jim Arwood, Communications Director for the Arizona Solar Center. "The industry testified that 70 cents would not kill solar in Arizona. Plus, there was agreement to have a broader discussion in the next rate case where so many additional options can be explored. The Commission also honored an action take by previous Commissions by upholding rates and rules that apply to existing rooftop solar homeowners."
1,000 rally at Arizona regulatory body in defense of net meteringSource: SolarServer
More than 1,000 solar supporters showed up to a rally at the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in the U.S. state of Arizona on November 13th, 2013, to express their opposition to a utility proposal to modify the state's net metering policy.
This marked the first of two days of hearings that the ACC is holding on Arizona Public Service Co.'s (APS, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.) proposed changes to the policy, which would give solar photovoltaic (PV) system owners a credit at a substantially lower rate than retail electricity rates for the power they produce.
Sunny celebration: Solar panels installed at 3 YUHSD schoolsSource: Yuma Sun
School and public officials along with students and APS employees met last week to celebrate the installations of solar panels on their campuses.
Point-Counter Point OpEd - Hallman: APS should take it to ACCSource: Arizona Republic
The question to ask in the debate launched by Arizona Public Service Co. about rooftop-solar energy is easy: What is the “right” price that APS should pay for energy produced by rooftop-solar panels?
Point-Counter Point OpEd - Friend: Net metering reform necessarySource: Arizona Republic
You may not be able to afford solar for your home, but you’re still already paying for it ... every month. Through an unfair cost-shifting practice known as net metering, hardworking Arizona families without solar panels are subsidizing the energy costs of solar households across the Grand Canyon State.
TUSD starting project to install solar power at 43 campusesSource: Arizona Daily Star
The Tucson Unified School District is bringing solar energy to 43 campuses, with a goal of reducing its carbon footprint while potentially saving more than $11 million over the next 20 years. The solar panels will generate about 80 percent of the electricity required at each site.
APS Under Fire for Efforts to Stymie Rooftop SolarSource: Renewable Energy World
The debate over solar homes and net metering is continuing to heat up, particularly in Arizona. The state's largest utility, Arizona Public Service (APS) is coming under fire for its efforts to gut net-metering. On Oct. 20, The Arizona Republic ran an article showing that the utility was approached by a lobbying firm to help shape and change the state's regulatory body, the Arizona Corporation Commission, to make it easier for the utility to essentially do whatever it wants in terms of renewable energy. That revelation led to protests outside APS' headquarters this week and now the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) and the Alliance for Solar Choice are calling for investigations into the utility's lobbying efforts.
Solar organizations call for APS investigationSource: FierceEnergy
Last week, an Arizona Republic investigation revealed that Arizona Public Service (APS) repeatedly lied about funneling money to political organizations to attack solar customers. Now, two Arizona solar organizations, the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) and The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), are calling for a thorough investigation by the Arizona Corporation Commission and Arizona Attorney General's Office, including an immediate review of APS's political spending and whether ratepayers have been, or will be asked to pay for such efforts.
Arizona Solar Policy Fight Heats Up As Utility Admits To Funding Nonprofits' Campaign AdsSource: Huffington Post
Arizona's largest utility admitted this week that it had paid a national conservative group to run anti-solar ads, after denying earlier in the year that it was funding the campaign.
Solar and Sustainable Home Tour open to public this weekend (incl. video)Source: CBS 5 - KPHO
Donna DiFrancesco's home in the historic Evergreen District of Mesa is one of the homes featured on this weekend's Solar and Sustainable Home Tour. The purpose is to show the public simple things that can be done to make a home more green and sustainable, using renewable energy.
APS, solar companies clash over credits to customersSource: Arizona Republic
The state’s largest utility and companies that install solar panels are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a high-stakes battle over how much customers should be paid for the power their panels produce. As part of its strategy, Arizona Public Service Co. sent cash to two non-profit groups that support the utility’s goal to make solar customers pay higher bills. Solar-panel companies have been equally aggressive, characterizing the utility as trying to “kill solar.”