• 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 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. 


Featured

Some things to pay attention to in Arizona


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 

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

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 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

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.

Source:https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-mark-brnovich-warns-about-deceptive-solar-initiative-flyers

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


Interesting Technology Updates;

This is an interesting approach to optaining very high penetration of renewables such as photovoltaics and wind.  At present most large installations operate under Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) wherein the economics are based on a sell all output at predetermined prices. This contrasts with standalone systems wherein the system size is based on meeting the load requirements all year.  This means that when output exceeds the load requirements, the output of the system is simply reduced and potential production lost.

A radical idea to get a high-renewable electric grid: Build way more solar and wind than needed

A look at some of the more significant changes under consideration for the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) that will affect future distributed generation systems (solar electric wind, etc.). Article 690, Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems and Article 705, being renamed Interconnected Electric Power Production Sources, are specific to distributed generation.

The referenced article below by IAEI, a membership driven, non-profit association promoting electrical safety, has a good summary of upcoming changes.

https://iaeimagazine.org/magazine/2019/09/10/pv-installations-for-the-2020-nec/


Events

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

Arizona Solar Jobs Declined in 2018

America now has over 242,000 solar workers, and Arizona has about 7,524 of these jobs, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2018. These jobs are providing clean, affordable, renewable energy in all 50 states. In 2017 the Jobs Census reported 8,381 Arizona Solar Jobs, making for a 10% decrease.  Several factors are at play, the most important of which appears to be the policies of Arizona electric utilities regarding credits for any excess energy and reducing buyback rates.  This has lowered the potential savings of having your own photovoltaic (PV) system. See our article Arizona Electric Utility Information.

The situation is not expected to improve soon due to Federal actions such as the tariffs on some imported PV modules and the coming reduction in the Federal Investment Tax Credit rates starting in 2020.  Those desiring to purchase a PV system should consider doing it now.  APS customers need to be mindful of the August 31st application deadlines to lock in buyback rates for 20 years.

TSF Logo 2014 tagThe full report is available at: National Solar Jobs Census 2018

There is also a good related article in Ars Technica

REC Silicon to suspend production at Moses Lake, Washington poly factory

February 12, 2019

Tariffs on  Chinese polysilicon imports as part of the 2014 trade dispute over Chinese solar panels and American polysilicon have caused REC Silicon to suspend operations at its Moses Lake, Washington polysilicon production facility in the USA from March 1. China imposed tariffs on polysilicon imports from the U.S. in 2014 in response to the U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels, effectively cutting off REC Silicon and other producers in the USA from the world’s largest market.

More information at: pv magazine

Arizona Electric Utility Information

The policies of the various Arizona electric utilities are very important to the implementation of Distributed Generation (solar electric, etc.) in Arizona.

The Solar Center will use this web space to describe the various utility policies.

aps logoAPS

Effective September 1st 2017 APS implemented a new schedule of solar rates:

APS Solar rate changes- 2017

The days of residential net metering are now long gone, APS now uses meters that measure the instantaneous export power and APS credits this monthly at $0.1161 per kWh (for new PV systems with applications completed before August 31, 2019).  APS On-Peak Energy Charges in the Summer range from $0.24314 down to $0.05750, depending on rate schedule and the corresponding demand charge.  A simple summary is available at https://azsolarcenter.org/summary-of-residential-rate-plans-for-aps-customers-with-an-on-site-distributed-generation-system.  It is difficult to determine an optimum rate selection. One factor to consider is that APS charges a monthly Grid Access fee of $0.93 per kWdc of the PV array rating.  This adds up over the years and needs to be considered when deciding on an array rating.

There are residential PV system size limits: The PV array nameplate capacity cannot be larger than the following electrical service limits:

a) For 200 Amp service, a maximum of 15 kW-dc.

b) For 400 Amp service, a maximum of 30 kW-dc.

c) For 600 Amp service, a maximum of 45 kW-dc.

d) For 800 Amp service and above, a maximum of 60 kW-dc

For commercial systems APS offers net metering (Rate Rider EPR-6) and has a size limit that the facility’s nameplate capacity cannot be larger than 150% of the customer’s maximum one-hour peak demand measured in AC over the prior twelve (12) months.

srpSRP

Residential solar customers are required to the use the E-27 rate schedule with its high demand rates, but low energy rates.  Any monthly excess is credited at $0.037 to $0.0633 per kWh, much lower than APS.  SRP does not have a monthly fee based on PV array or inverter size. If the PV system is over-sized, the excess energy is only worth $0.037 to $0.0633 per kWh.

For commercial PV systems SRP uses an hourly net metering procedure (BUYBACK SERVICE RIDER) in which any excess balance each hour is purchased by SRP at the Hourly Indexed Energy Price - $0.00017/kWh, basically the wholesale energy price at Palo Verde less a small handling charge.  This averages $0.020 to $0.030 per kWh.  This procedure makes it difficult to accurately forecast value of any excess credits.

 

tep 2019 logoTEP 

will pay new solar customers 9.64 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for their systems' excess power, a price that reflects average market costs over a recent five-year period. Customers who file applications after Sept. 20, 2018 to install private rooftop solar systems will keep their initial export rate for up to 10 years. The export rate will be updated annually to reflect market prices for solar power, but will not be allowed to fall more than 10 percent. New solar customers also can choose from two existing Time-of-Use pricing plans, which offer lower rates during most of the day, on weekends and holidays. TEP offers Fast Track™ easy approval for simple PV systems of 10 kWac or less.

 

NEC Logo with TouchstoneNavopache Electric Cooperative

Navopache Electric Cooperative is non-profit member-owned distribution cooperative, serving over 33,000 members across the White Mountains of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. Navopache still (Feb 2019) offers Net Metering.  Their basic policy is spelled out in their Net Metering Rate Schedule (link).

All their rate schedules are available (link).

 

Sulphur Springs logosunWatts logoSULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, INC.

All kWh delivered by SSVEC to the Customer will be billed on the rate charged to the Customer under the applicable Standard Rate Schedule.
All kWh received from Customer (Customer produced excess energy) will be credited on a monthly basis by SSVEC to the Customer at the Distributed Generation Energy Export
(“DGEE”) Rate as defined below. Customer excess energy cannot be “banked,” “saved,” or “rolled forward” for use in a future month.There is no Annual True-Up month under this Schedule DG as the accounts are truedup monthly.

Distributed Generation Energy Export (DGEE) Rate shall be defined as follows:
Year 1 (2018) DGEE Rate $0.071165 per kWh
Year 2 (2019) DGEE Rate $0.064049 per kWh
Year 3 (2020) DGEE Rate $0.057644 per kWh
Year 4 (2021) DGEE Rate $0.051879 per kWh
Year 5 (2022) DGEE Rate $0.046691 per kWh
Year 6 (2023) DGEE Rate $0.041310 per kWh
Year 7 (2024 and beyond) DGEE Rate RCP Rate as updated annually.

Further info:

Intro to arizonagoessolar.org website

 

 

APS Rate Case - Higher rates, solar changes now effective as of September 1st

APS customers had until August 31, 2017 to submit complete interconnection applications to APS in order to be grandfathered under earlier solar policy.  Basic rates have increased and net metering was eliminated, replaced by a fixed purchase rate that starts at $0.129 per kwhr and will decrease in the future.  Further details are posted in a link below.

Quick APS Links:

News Release (Aug. 15, 2017)
Summary for Residential Customers
Summary for Business Customers
Solar Grandfathering Fact Sheet (also see the note below for additional information)

The Arizona Solar Center has put together an unofficial summary of the new APS rate schedules for new solar customers, click here.

On August 21, 2017 APS emailed the following information to Stakeholders (but it does not seem to be on the APS website):

Stakeholders,

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has approved a decision in our rate review, and we are happy to share some details with you affecting our solar customers. We appreciate your support in delivering this message to customers and will be glad to help you with any questions you may have. For your reference, attached are letters that were sent to customers regarding grandfathering. Other resources are available at aps.com/gosolar.

Grandfathering

  • Current solar customers that are interconnected to the APS grid will remain grandfathered for 20 years from the date of interconnection.
    • The grandfathering stays with the premise. Systems transferred to a new premise will require a new application, and the customer would no longer be eligible for EPR-6.
    • Over the terms of the grandfathering period, a customer may not increase the capacity of their grandfathered solar system by more than a total of 10% or 1 kW, whichever is greater.
  • Customers who submit a complete application by 11:59 p.m. August 31, 2017 will be eligible for grandfathering. The system would need to be installed and have AHJ approval by February 28, 2018 in order to qualify. A complete application includes all of the following:
    • Customer Application
    • Executed Contract
    • Disclaimer
    • Consumer Acknowledgement
    • Installer Application
    • Three Line Diagram
    • Site Plan

On January 18th APS emailed the following information to Stakeholders (but it does not seem to be on the APS website):

Stakeholder Communication January 18, 2018

Stakeholders,

We hope you all had a great holiday, and Happy New Year!

The February 28, 2018 installation deadline for grandfathering is quickly approaching, and we want to remind you of the following:

  • Upgrading a Service Entrance Section (SES) can take up to 4-6 weeks.
    • When submitting your service request, best practice is to include a copy of the permit and site photos
  • Derates are currently taking 2-3 weeks to schedule depending on volume.
  • An installed system means that APS has received the approval (green tag) from the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) by February 28.
    • If there is a delay by the AHJ, APS would require proof that the request for inspection was made with reasonable time for the AHJ to process prior to the deadline. i.e. copy of the request sent to the AHJ. 
      • If you know that a municipality takes two weeks to inspect, your request should be in by February 14.
      • If your inspection is not completed by the deadline, be sure to keep the proof of your inspection request to provide to APS.
    • As a reminder, the high volume of applications and grandfathering deadline will increase inspection requests to the AHJs. Please plan accordingly.

All applications that do not meet the firm February 28 installation deadline will be eligible for Rate Rider RCP (Resource Comparison Proxy). If the system is over 10 kW, we will review the application again for RCP qualification. If the system does not meet the qualifications, we will notify all parties on the application.

Rate Changes – The deadline for grandfathered solar customers to change rates was August 31, 2017. Requests after that date to change from one grandfathered rate to a different grandfathered rate will not be accepted. Please be sure to advise customers that if they are grandfathered, they can either:

  • Keep their current rate plan, or,
  • Choose a new rate plan, which would effectively forfeit their grandfathering.

A letter will be sent to customers to remind them of the deadlines mentioned above.

Sincerely,

APS Renewable Energy Team

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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