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Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Jim Arwood served six Arizona governors in various capacities managing federal energy programs, culminating in his appointment by then Governor Janet Napolitano, as Director of the State Energy Office in 2006. After nearly 25 years serving the state of Arizona, Mr. Arwood retired from government service in 2010 and today consults for a variety of energy related organizations. He also serves as Director of Communications for the Arizona Solar Center.

The Devil is in the Details

The evolution of clean energy choices got a jolt this week when APS announced plans to lease customers’ rooftops for the purpose of installing utility-owned solar electric systems to feed power directly into their grid.

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Fighting Obama?

President Barack Obama isn't on the Arizona primary election ballot, but judging from the campaigns, candidates and political rhetoric it seems he is running for every political office in the state, even Corporation Commissioner.

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It has been a year since Arizona Public Service asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to approve a monthly surcharge of $50 to $100 on the utility bills of rooftop solar homeowners.

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(Energy) Independence Day

Originally conjured up during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, the expression “Energy Independence” has become a powerful verbal icon. Over the last 40 years this term emerged as a catchphrase for nearly every public office-seeker promising to make America strong once more.

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The Calm Before the Storm

In February, we wrote in our Sun Day blog about the “Waves of Disruption” sweeping over the electric utility sector.  Those waves look as if they are gaining strength.

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A Golden Opportunity

Numerologists believe that the numerical sequence 111 is a sign of a golden opportunity, a doorway opening up.  It may be just a coincidence, but the proposed new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule for reducing emissions from existing power plants falls under section 111 (d) of the EPA's Clean Air Act.

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Looking Back – Looking Ahead

Memorial Day is upon us and across the US people are remembering and honoring those that gave their lives for our country. The Arizona Solar Center joins Americans everywhere in saluting those that have died in our nation’s service.

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What Is The Value of Solar?

The value of solar in Arizona was the subject of an Arizona Corporation Commission workshop on May 7.  Two things were abundantly clear after a day of power-points and presentations:

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Majority Rules . . . Or does it?

“Democracy by coincidence” is a phrase that researchers at Princeton and Northwestern universities coined in a study about political influence.  The phrase describes a situation in which ordinary citizens get what they want from government only when they happen to agree with the position of economic elites or interest groups representing business interests.

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The Tucson Solar Potluck: A Who’s Who of Solar in Arizona

On April 26, the Tucson Solar Potluck will be held in the desert north of Tucson.  It is the 32nd straight year for the gathering of solar enthusiasts, a streak that some believe qualifies it as the longest continuously held solar event in the U.S.

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The benefits of solar: Will anybody listen?

Arizona is about to begin an important discussion on the cost benefits of solar energy. The discussion is scheduled for May 7 as part of a series of workshops the Arizona Corporation Commission has scheduled to examine the impacts of innovation on the utility business model.

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Let The Sun Shine

Last summer the Arizona Solar Center initiated this blog as a way to shine a light on all aspects of solar energy in Arizona.  One of the objectives is to provide a voice for solar end-users that might not otherwise be heard.  Since its inception, the blog has been dominated by policy issues and how those policies impact the end-user.

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AZ Solar Center Launches Interactive Legislative Tracker

The Arizona Solar Center's mission is to promote the utilization of solar energy throughout Arizona. And in case you haven't noticed, in the past five or six years this usage in the state has skyrocketed.

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Waves of Disruption

This winter, Citibank Research issued a report in which it concluded the utility industry is a dinosaur waiting to die.

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The REST of the Story

Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Bob Stump issued a statement last week concerning the Commission’s desire for further discussions on how to count rooftop solar toward fulfilling the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (REST) requirements. The REST requires that by 2025 Arizona utilities must generate 15 percent of their overall energy portfolio from renewable sources with 30 percent of that total coming from distributed resources such as rooftop solar.

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Arizona: The State of the Solar State - Part 1

2013 was an event horizon for the solar electric industry in Arizona. The year brought acrimonious debate over net metering, as the utility industry attempted to reel-in a burgeoning rooftop solar movement that it had portrayed in a white-paper as a threat to its century-old business model and profit margins.

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A Newfangled Utility

Americans are bargain hunters at heart. Black Friday shoppers will stand in line overnight to save a few bucks on a sale item. And for years, with the exception of a handful of early adopters who acted out of either environmental concerns or energy independence interests, most Arizona homeowners were waiting on the sidelines for the promise of a solar electron that was cheaper than conventional utility power.

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Sun Day Times

This year marked the 35th anniversary of Sun Day – May 3, 1978.  President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that day as “Sun Day” and called upon the American people to observe the occasion with appropriate activities and ceremonies to demonstrate the potential of solar energy.

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The Rising Sun

The popular viewpoint that solar energy is an expensive form of electricity is dwindling, undone by significant cost reductions in recent years. And although the industry itself remains in its infancy, costs have dropped so dramatically that cost parity has been achieved in certain areas.

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A New Era for Solar Power

Five years ago Forbes magazine proclaimed that “a new era for solar power is approaching.”

It isn’t the first time that the promise of solar has been touted as ushering in a new era in energy.

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