• 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 Energy Materials (C2SEPEM) a new 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 force the homeowners to remove 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 water or a heat-transfer fluid. Read More
  • Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    (Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009) The information below is somewhat dated, the incentives have been extended, but reduced.  See our more up to date article. 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:   26% Maximum Incentive:   Solar-electric systems 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 in The idea of using 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 mv is the normal range 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
Brian Czech
17 February 2019

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!”

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. 


Events

Featured (Note- Articles below shift Left-Right)

Some things to pay attention to in Arizona


Arizona Legislature 

Not in session

Arizona Corporation Commission 

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has posted STAFF'S THIRD REVISED PROPOSED DRAFT RULES (DOCKET no. RE-00000A-18-0284) That lay out a clearer framework for Electric Utilities to report their compliance with the proposed standards for the Renewable Energy Standard, Clean Peak Standard, Distributed Renewable Storage Requirement, and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.

See the ACC Staff Report: docket.images.azcc.gov/E000004960.pdf

See also Materials Presented by the Joint Stakeholders at the Commission's March 2020 Energy Rules Workshop

ACC Staff has made substantial changes to the draft rules that were filed on July 2, 2019 based on feedback received at each workshop held in this matter, comments to the docket, and a review of relevant energy policies across the United States.

The Nature Conservancy has submitted their report "Arizona Thrives - A Path to a Healthy and Prosperous Future" to the ACC. Interesting.

APS has submitted their report,  The Solar Center has slightly reformatted this report by rotating the pages for easier viewing.  APS has provided two presentations to address the ACC questions. Worth a read.

Update July 30, 2020: 

When the Arizona utility regulators met to decide these issues they deadlocked over whether they should increase the state's requirements for renewable energy. It proved not possible to obtain the agreement of at least three commissioners, the meeting was adjourned.

See the Arizona Republic article on this:  Arizona utility regulators hit roadblock on clean-energy rules, abruptly end meeting.

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has released the Notice of Final Rulemaking Interconnection of Distributed Generation FacilitiesInterconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities document.

With this rulemaking, the Commission adds a new Article 26, entitled " Interconnection. of Distributed Generation Facilities" to 14 A.A.C. 2, the Chapter containing the Commission's rules for fixed utilities, with the new Article 26 including 28 new rules. The rules for Interconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities ("DGI Rules") establish mandatory technical standards, processes, and timelines for utilities to use for· interconnection and parallel operation of different types of distributed generation ("DG") facilities; customer and utility rights and responsibilities; provisions for disconnection of DG facilities from the distribution system; specific safety requirements; more flexible standards for electric cooperatives; a reporting requirement; and a requirement for each utility to create, submit for initial approval and submit for approval periodically and when revised, and implement and comply with a Commission-approved Interconnection Manual.

The first dozen pages are basically legal stuff.  The document defines how an utility must review, then accept/reject/etc. an application to connect distributed generation to the utility.  It defines both customer rights and utility procedures.  There are a lot of utility, installer and customer comments along with the ACC staff recomendations. 

 Municipality Info

 

PhoenixFireLogo sm

The City of Phoenix is now (January 2020) requiring a special permit from the Fire Department for most solar systems and batteries.  The fees and required plans varies with size and content.  See this link for an application and details:  https://www.phoenix.gov/firesite/Documents/Solar Photovoltaic OTC Bundle Rev 01-2020.pdf

This is in addition to a building permit from the Planning & Development Department and must be separately obtained at a different address (150 South 12th Street) or on-line via the above link. Also noted is that residential PV permits are no longer over the counter and as of March 2020 are estimated to take 29 working days to process.  Separate inspections are required.

The code requirements are contained in Phoenix-Chapter 12 BESS R-3-1.pdf

Also note: All Phoenix solar building permits are now electronic submittal only. Contact the Electronic Plan Review (EPR) Triage Team at 602-534-5933 or epr.support@phoenix.gov. For more information on EPR, visit us at https://www.phoenix.gov/pdd/onlineservices/electronic-plan-review.

Related: PV Rapid Shutdown Signage- Phoenix

.

 At the Federal Level

The US House passed the Moving Forward Act, H. R. 2, on July 1, 2020. The US$1.5 trillion infrastructure support bill includes a raft of measures in support of America’s clean economy. The bill proposes to extend the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) scheme to 2025. Major resistance is expected in the Senate.

More details on this bill are at: Solar-friendly US infrastructure bill inches forward as it passes House

Additional coverage: House Democrats Spell Out Climate, Clean Energy Priorities in Sweeping Plan

Update August 4th: 07/20/2020 Senate Received in the Senate.  No action since.  Call your Senators!

The President Trump released a Proclamation  on October 10, 2020 that will increase the tariff on imported solar cells and panels next year.  Bifacial solar panels will officially lose their exemption status.

The solar industry was the first market to feel the hit of tariffs brought on by Trump in 2018. Beginning in February 2018, imported crystalline silicon cells, modules and AC/integrated modules were tariffed 30% as part of a four-year outline. Imports received a 25% tariff in 2019, a 20% tariff in 2020 and were scheduled for a 15% tariff in 2021.

Update (10/15/20):  A U.S. trade court again denied a request by the Trump administration to end a tariff exemption for imported two-sided solar panels. (caution: paywall)

U.S. Court of International Trade Judge Gary Katzmann refused to lift an order preventing the administration from withdrawing an exemption for two-sided, or bifacial, panels The government didn’t follow the law the first time it moved to withdraw the loophole, and it didn’t fix the procedural errors the second time it tried, Katzmann said. Katzmann said he was taking no position on whether the duties would protect the domestic solar industry “Once again, the court merely continues to...

 

 

Utility Information


Arizona Public Service Co. has announced that it plans to produce all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050 and will get 45% of its power from renewable sources like solar and wind by the end of this decade.

This is a good improvement from the point of view of sustainable energy.  There are still a lot of details to be worked out such as the role that distributed energy will take.  Will APS APS improve its policies in regard to residential and small commercial systems.

There are several good news articles and the APS press releases on this announcement:

APS:APS sets course for 100 percent clean energy future

Arizona Republic: APS will eliminate carbon emissions by 2050 and close coal plant ahead of schedule, CEO says

The Washington Post: Arizona’s biggest utility says it will get all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050

 

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) plans to provide more than 70 percent of its power from wind and solar resources as part of a cleaner energy portfolio that will reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2035.

TEP has filed its integrated resource plan (IRP) with the Arizona Corporation Commission, outlining plans for 2.5GW of new solar and wind over the next 15 years and 1.4GW of energy storage capacity as it progressively shutters its coal power stations.

See the TEP Press Release for more information: https://www.tep.com/news/tep-plans-clean-energy-expansion-carbon-reduction/

TEP customers intending to install a new PV system now need to check that their system can be safely installed and connected to TEP’s grid.

TEP now has service areas that are saturated with PV systems where new PV systems are subject to additional review and requirements under Arizona’s Distributed Generation Interconnection Rules. TEP has prepared DG Saturation Maps showing these areas.

This further described at https://www.tep.com/get-started-with-solar/

This requirement stems from the recent Distributed Generation Interconnection Rules issued by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Further information is available at:Interconnection of Distributed Generation Facilities

Update: See the related article on tucson.com: New state rules limit rooftop solar systems in some Tucson neighborhoods

 

 

  

Interesting Technology Updates;

 

 

 

 


Other Announcements

Interesting Videos

Arizona HOA demands extra cash for solar-panel review

In Arizona it is common for homeowners associations (HOA) to require homeowners or their contractors to obtain the HOA's permission to install a solar system.  There is usually a minor fee.  At least one HOA has taken this to an extreem, charging for an architect to review the plans and installation for $1500 ($500, to have an architect review plans, plus a $1,000 refundable deposit to ensure the installation happens as submitted.).

Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star has a good article on this situation:Steller column: HOA demands extra cash for solar-panel review

 

Some things to pay attention to in Arizona-Temp1

Reminder- Arizona tax credit information is available here: Arizona Tax Incentives


Seeking Arizona agriculture producers who are using small solar systems in their operations in Arizona

Dr. Bonnie Eberhardt Bobb, Executive Director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, is looking for agriculture producers who are using small solar systems in their operations in Arizona who might be willing to help her with preparing ACC testimony, discussion with representatives, writing letters of support, signing petitions, etc. to further their goal of increased renewables in agriculture. She would love to hear from ag producers and listen to their stories of how solar has benefited their operations. Thank you so much. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can assist.

Arizona Corporation Commission 

See our information on PROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION FACILITIESPROPOSED RULEMAKING REGARDING INTERCONNECTION OF DISTRIBUTED GENERATION FACILITIES

SRP Solar Information

SRP approves rate decrease as directors argue about solar power and batteries.

During March 2019, SRP wrapped up their public pricing process at a final rate setting board hearing.
The board approved new rates for SRP customers, which will translate to a $1 to $4 decrease in monthly bills.
The board also voted to lower rates for solar customers, approve three new options for solar customers, and adopt a new battery/storage incentive.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2019/03/25/salt-river-project-decreases-rates-customers-but-solar-debate-rages/3245669002/.

APS Solar Information

APS announces 2018 ended with 16,479 applications and 14,818 installations: 

APS 2018 PV

Note: APS applications peak in August due to deadlines to freeze APS purchase rates for 10 years.

FRAUD ALERT Click to see details 

A picture of the “Public Notice” is below:
A picture of the improperly modified county seal used by the “Solar Initiative” is below:

 


The Challenge of Closing the Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant near Page

The Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona will soon be closed. This is one of the largest coal fired power plants in the U.S and is supplied by a dedicated mine (Kayenta Peabody Mine) about 80 miles east of Page. The plant and mine have provided the Navajo Nation with employment and income, but at high enviromental cost (one of the biggest polluters in the nation). The decision by the plant owners (Salt River Project owns 42.9% of the plant and runs it for the owners, which include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (24.3%), Arizona Public Service Co. (14%), Tucson Electric Power Co. (11.3%) and NV Energy (7.5%)) was based on the economics of operating the plant. The economics of electrical power generation are changing and coal fired plants are now the most expensive to operate. Renewable sources such as solar and wind, and the low cost of natural gas are causing the early retirement of many coal fired power plants.

The plant was completed in 1975 for a total cost of about $650 million. Since then far more has been spent on polution controls and more would have been needed to continue operations. In addition, the plant and its supply of coal have a major user of water in an arid area.

The main decision to close the plant was made in 2017. A Replacement Lease was negotiated by the Navajo Nation to extend operation to 2019 in the hopes of finding a new owner to continue the operations. On March 21, 2019 Navajo lawmakers voted to end their efforts to acquire the plant and keep it running.

A Navajo Nation brochure in 2017 has a good summary of the situation then. The Replacement Lease was approved and one of the plant assets transferred to the Navajo Nation are the transmission rights. The Navajo Nation or its assignee can use the transmission rights to have electric energy from new solar or other generation sources delivered to markets such as California, Phoenix and Las Vegas. These transmission rights are a valuable new tool that will position the Nation’s movement toward a cleaner energy economy.

There is also a good 2017 summary on High Country News: https://www.hcn.org/articles/the-wests-coal-giant-is-going-down

There is also a good article, funded by NREL, on the potential for solar on the Navajo Nation that pre-dates the decision to close the Navajo Generating Station: Growing Interest in Developing Navajo Utility-Scale Solar Industry.

UPDATE 3-3-19

Utility Drive reported that On Sunday 3-31-19, an Arizona federal judge granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that sought to force a state water agency (the Central Arizona Project) to buy coal-fired electricity from this facility.

https://www.utilitydive.com/news/federal-judge-blocks-potential-path-to-viability-for-23-gw-navajo-coal-pla/551885/

The Challenge of the Trump Budget- 2019

The White House as submitted its proposed budget for FY 2020 and it is not pro-renewable  or pro-sustainable by a long shot.  The Budget is titled "A BUDGET FOR A Better America".  For instance, the Budget redefines the Mission of the Department of Energy in part as:

The mission of the Department of Energy (DOE) is to advance U.S. national security and economic growth
through transformative science and technology innovations that promotes affordable and reliable energy
through market solutions, and meets America’s nuclear security and environmental clean-up challenges.

Energy efficiency programs, clean energy and environmental regulations could take deep cuts if President Trump’s proposed budget gets everything what he wants, although it’s politically likely that he will not.

The administration’s fiscal 2020 budget would trim the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office by $1.6 billion, or 70 percent of the fiscal 2019 appropriation. Overall, the DOE requested a $31.7 billion budget, an 11-percent decrease.

The Environmental Protection Agency budget request totaled $6.1 billion, a 31-percent cut from the nearly $9 billion allocated for fiscal 2019, according to reports.

“President Trump’s budget supports the Department’s vast mission in a fiscally responsible way, and makes clear that success will be measured not by the dollars spent but by the results achieved on behalf of the American people,” reads the DOE statement announcing the budget. “It calls for strategic investments in our energy security and national security, supporting America’s continued rise as an energy independent nation. Under President Trump’s leadership we have empowered American energy, with the U.S. becoming the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, and now exporting LNG to 34 countries across five continents. The budget request also focuses on moving America forward by investing in transformational science, innovation, and technology. The Department of Energy’s National Labs are the crown jewels of America’s innovation and this funding will continue to support their work from Artificial Intelligence to renewables, clean coal and Advanced Nuclear technology. The budget proposal also funds the modernization of our nuclear stockpile, the aging infrastructure that supports it, and ensures a safe and effective system for our nuclear Navy for years to come.”

The statement said funding would continue to support the DOE’s National Labos programs, including work on artificial intelligence, clean coal and renewable energy. It also allocates money for support advanced nuclear energy technology.

Trump’s overall administration budget cut across all fronts except military spending. It also allocated about $8 billion toward building a wall along the border with Mexico.

Energy efficiency took a huge hit. One detail noted by critics of the budget proposal was that, under the plan, the EnergyStar appliance program would be funded entirely from user fees. It could cut the EPA’s vehicle emissions program completely, according to reports.

“This proposal, if enacted, would cause Americans’ energy costs to rise, while killing jobs around the country,” said Steve Nadel, executive director of advocacy group The American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy, in a statement. “Energy efficiency directly supports 2.3 million U.S. jobs and indirectly many more. In addition to putting these jobs at risk, these cuts run counter to the administration’s own goals of promoting economic growth and reducing wasteful spending. We hope Congress will stand up for business owners, workers, and consumers by blocking the proposed 2020 budget cuts.”

The ACEEE statement also said that the DOE's appliance standards, vehicle emissions and building codes programs will save Americans billions of dollars through 2030.

Trump’s budget must go through a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, in which all appropriations bills must begin. In previous years the presidential administration has proposed major cuts to EPA and clean energy programs beyond even what was announced this week.

For instance, two years ago the newly installed Trump Administration proposed 31 percent cuts to EPA funding for fiscal 2018, but the Republican-controlled Congress approved an $8.1 billion budget that kept the agency level with fiscal 2017.

The basic Budget description is available here:

 

Most of the above text is from Electric Power & Light: https://www.elp.com/articles/2019/03/renewable-energy-efficiency-groups-mount-united-front-vs-trump-budget.html

Groups are organizing to resist this budget reduction:

Related article: https://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2019/03/renewable-energy-efficiency-groups-mount-united-front-vs-trump-budget.html

 

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

    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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