• Renewable Activity in Other States

    There are a lot of renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts going on in other states and Puerto Rico.   Some interesting links:  New York targets 1.5 TWh of new renewables with latest solicitation  New York updates distributed solar tariff, clearing path for 1 GW of new generation  Committing to climate: Transformation is underway in the US power sector  California adopts 2030 Preferred System Portfolio Read More
  • 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) 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 2009: $2,000Solar water heaters placed 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 Renewable Activity in Other States
  • 2 New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance
  • 3 Know Your Rights
  • 4 Home Battery Systems
  • 5 Solar Hot Water
  • 6 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 7 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 8 How Not to- Battery Connections


  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. 


Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

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 drbonnie2002@yahoo.com if you can assist.

Arizona Corporation Commission 


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.


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.


Attorney General Warns About Deceptive “Solar Initiative” Flyers

PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a warning today about deceptive flyers appearing on residences in the Phoenix area that promote a solar energy effort.

The flyers claim to be a “Public Notice” from the “Maricopa County Solar Initiative,” and claim that “Arizona and the Federal Government ITC (26 USC § 25D) are paying to have solar energy systems installed on qualified homes in this neighborhood.” The flyers tell consumers to call to schedule their “site audits.” Consumers who call are subjected to a solar sales pitch by a private company. In addition, the Maricopa County Solar Initiative’s website improperly uses a modified version of the county seal, but the “Solar Initiative” is linked to a private business and is not associated with the county. The “Solar Initiative” is also not registered to do business in Arizona.

Similar flyers previously appeared in Clark County, Nevada, this summer, and law enforcement officials there have warned that the “Clark County Solar Initiative” notices are deceptive.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has aggressively prosecuted businesses masquerading as government agencies, including obtaining consent judgments against “Mandatory Poster Agency” and “Compliance Filings Service,” resulting in full restitution for Arizonans totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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

 If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a complaint online at the Arizona Attorney General’s website. You can also contact the Consumer Information and Complaints Unit in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, and outside of the metro areas at (800) 352-8431.


Also covered at: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2018/11/26/deceptive-flyers-circulate-arizona-promoting-solar-energy-effort/2115597002/



General News

Caution- News leads open in new windows. Warning- These news links are automatically generated by others such as Google News and are not reviewed by the Arizona Solar Center, Inc. We are not responsible for link content.

Interesting Videos

Rapid Shutdown of Photovoltaic Module Series Strings

Rapid Shutdown of Photovoltaic Module Series Strings

With the increasing number of Photovoltaic (PV) power systems being installed on buildings and the concern of emergency first responders (firemen) that these high voltages on buildings represent a hazard to first responders, the National Electrical Code (NEC) has added requirements intended to address this hazard. Many PV power systems use a design with many series connected PV modules (termed ‘strings’) to simplify wiring and increase efficiency. Presently these systems can use strings with cold open circuit voltages of up to 600 volts DC on residences, up to 1000 volts on non-residential buildings, and up to 1500 volts in utility scale installations. The problem is that even if the wires from the PV array are disconnected, high voltages remain and emergency responders could be exposed to high voltages even if all electrical power is shut off for the building.

To address this hazard, the NEC added Section 690.12 Rapid Shutdown of PV Systems on Buildings in the 2014 edition. The requirements were refined in the 2017 edition. Methods and designs for achieving the proper rapid shutdown are not addressed by the NEC but instead are addressed in the product standards (such as UL Standards) for this type of equipment. The figure below from the September/October issue of Solar Pro magazine (see solarprofessional.com) illustrates the requirements.

RapidShutdown2014 vs 2017

There are many ways that the PV industry is addressing these requirements:

Module Level Electronics (MLE), the inclusion of electronic devices within the PV modules:

  • Micro Inverters, one per PV module (or sometimes for 2 modules), to produce AC power from the PV array area. Due to inverter requirements, these inverters must shut down any time the AC power is disconnected or fails (utility outage).
  • Power conditioners for each PV module that are controlled by the central inverter and are designed to shut down whenever the inverter is shutdown.
  • Other shutdown devices such as small remote switching devices, controlled by the inverter or a separate rapid shutdown switch..

Array rapid shutdown devices that are placed within the array boundary and disconnect the PV array whenever the inverter is shutdown.

Inverter location – simply placing the string inverter close to the PV array, within the array boundary. Inverters are being designed to allow such low profile mounting.

In Arizona there is no state wide building code, cities and counties determine the applicable codes and versions of codes.  For instance, Phoenix is now on the 2017 version of the NEC and the 1' boundary applies, while Scottsdale is on the 2014 version of the NEC and the 10' boundry applies. The installer will have to obtain building permits and follow the applicable code version.


Activating rapid shutdown:  PV systems installed following either the 2014 or 2017 versions of the NEC will have a reflective label (left image) near the electrical service showing the switch that will put the PV system in shutdown mode.  This label may be either on the AC disconnect (center image- for systems that shutdown upon loss of the utility connection) or on a separate switch (right image).  PV systems using micro-inverter and installed following earlier NEC versions may not be labeled.


Note: Several Arizona cities have adopted the 2017 NEC and now require Rapid Shutdown-  Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria (10-1-19)

Snow can damage PV arrays

The recent snow storms in Arizona (February 2019) have resulted in snow accumilations that can damage solar mounting structures.  A good illustration is from Germany in 2013.

Snow beforeIn 2012, motor home manufacturer ’Adria’ built this fancy new 1MW solar plant over its parking lot.

It collapsed under about 3-4ft of snow Feb 2013.

Snow fail

Are there any Arizona Examples?

APS announces 'Solar after Sunset" battery storage inititative

In utility-scale electricity generation over the course of a day there is a timing imbalance between peak demand and renewable energy production. Especially in Arizona, the peak demand often occurs after sunset, when solar power is no longer available. A graph of power production with various future estimated solar production levels tends to develope into a clasic duck shape and has been named the duck curve. (the image below is from NREL and not specific to APS)

Duck Curve1

Arizona electric utilities have been dealing with this mismatch of load and generation by ramping up/down their various generation sources. Another solution to the problem is storing some of the solar generated energy for later use to reduce the peak generation required of the conventional sources.

APS has announced their plan for testing a large scale battery system to help solve this problem. AES will develop a 100MW battery for APS. In addition to being able to shift energy, the installation will be used to provide "critical peaking capacity" and “increased” grid reliability. AES will provide a system with a four-hour duration based on Fluence’s Advancion platform. It will be leased under a 20-year contract with AES the owner and operator of the project. The cost per kWh shifted has not been disclosed.

APS states "APS will add battery storage to its existing fleet of solar power plants, build new solar plants with storage, and use storage to deliver cleaner energy to customers at times of peak energy usage. As a result, APS customers will be able to use solar energy even after the sun goes down. Family dinners, prime-time television and bedtime reading lights will all be powered by a cleaner energy mix."

For further detail, see the APS news release.

Good Intentions, but----

tep 2019 logoBack in January 2015 Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) and UniSource Energy Services (UES) set up a Voluntary Solar Contribution Program (VSCP) that directed contributions to a fund managed by the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF). The program was to be used to install solar photovoltaic systems on newly built residential single-family homes constructed by the Arizona chapters of Habitat for Humanity International ("Habitat") on Habitat homes for TEP customers. This was part of the approved TEP 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Implementation Plan and related Distributed Energy Administrative Plan.

Good intentions, but it never worked out.  In spite of a lot of publicity at the time (search "VOLUNTARY SOLAR CONTRIBUTION PROGRAM"), and an initial donation of $25,000 by TEP, Additionally, as shown by the most recent VSCP Report filed on September 28, 2018, no contributions have been made by another company or any member of the general public. The fund balance initially contributed by TEP and UNSE, now $24,684.91, is from its shareholders, not ratepayers. The total annual administrative costs were $500 in 2017 to maintain an online donation page on ACF's website and will be $750 in 2018. The fees are deducted monthly from the fund balance.

According to a docket filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission remaining accumulated funds should be donated to Habitat.  No solar photovoltaic systems were installed.


  • 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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