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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.

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
I think it is unfair for the utility to enter into this area of business when there are very good companies already in that part o... Read More
Sunday, 03 August 2014 10:21
Bill Kaszeta
For reference, there are a few more details at: But the details are few and the questions many for the 2... Read More
Sunday, 03 August 2014 20:35
Dale P Carriere
In the long run, competition, real competition, is generally a good thing. Competition forces all players to rethink their busines... Read More
Sunday, 10 August 2014 09:48
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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.

Recent Comments
Huck Kennedy
The NYT published a nice short piece back in April talking about the dark money (read, Koch brothers and various coal and utility ... Read More
Sunday, 13 July 2014 09:03
John Neville
The way to make the ACC a valuable member of the discussion about distributed renewable energy would be for the commissioners to p... Read More
Sunday, 13 July 2014 12:26
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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.

Recent Comments
Curt Shannon
Great piece. I'll simply add that the technology and finance legs of the clean-energy "stool" appear to be in fairly good shape. ... Read More
Sunday, 06 July 2014 13:12
Jim Stack
Nevada gets it. They put a bigger fee on all GRID connected homes, Solar or not. quote=The study, conducted for state regulators ... Read More
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:57
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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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Jim Stack
Question: What role should utilities play in the emerging rooftop solar sector? It's their choice. Read my uncle ... Read More
Sunday, 29 June 2014 14:56
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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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Jim Stack
Yesterday 6-10-2014 I went with the Sierra Club to a Phoenix Senate meeting on the new EPA rules. They spent 99% of the time deny... Read More
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 18:12
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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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Jim Stack
The APS 500 Solar and Electric competitions were helping move from old 20% gas engines to very clean and 90% efficient all electri... Read More
Monday, 26 May 2014 10:50
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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:

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
It's pretty simple. Have the utilities pay solar home owners and all Solar customers the same price they charge others for Solar (... Read More
Sunday, 18 May 2014 18:12
Jim Stack
quote=1. Had we known ten years ago what we know now -- we would have done things differently. Also in answer to your question 1 ... Read More
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 15:45
Jim Stack
a 3rd party calculation on the true value of solar VoS. It is worth reading. Read More
Friday, 23 May 2014 09:14
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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.

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
quote=Do you believe that public officials are ignoring public opinion in deciding recent issues relating to solar energy? I cert... Read More
Sunday, 27 April 2014 07:29
Jim Stack
Another example of ignoring Public Opinion was last year when ADEQ cancelled the Clean Car Program. It cost nothing and gave hybri... Read More
Monday, 05 May 2014 15:29
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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.

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
Of course. We just had the Great Solar Cookout today at ASU with about 10 solar ovens. We also had electric cars like the LEAF and... Read More
Saturday, 12 April 2014 18:45
bruce plenk
Jim- Thanks for a great recap of the SOlar Potluck. We hope that some of our solar friends from the Valley can make it down this y... Read More
Sunday, 13 April 2014 08:47
Jim Stack
Yesterday I rode my ELF to ASU East about 15 miles each way and saw their world leading Sunpower C... Read More
Thursday, 24 April 2014 08:48
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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.

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
I think all the public officials hear the facts but don't want to believe them. There are a lot of non peer reviewed studies and c... Read More
Sunday, 06 April 2014 07:48
Joe Doaks
Wow! Minnesota effectively built A back-door carbon tax into its formula. Brilliant!
Sunday, 06 April 2014 11:39
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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.

Recent comment in this post
Jim Stack
Another Solar EVent coming up is the Sky Song German Solar ,Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 9:00am to 7:00pm (no fooling) Note tha... Read More
Sunday, 23 March 2014 14:53
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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.

Recent Comments
Barbie Burke
That is so sad to read about our legislators trying to tax solar leases. I am a Realtor/Broker and I know investors would not be... Read More
Sunday, 16 March 2014 08:14
Jim Stack
Minnesota Adopts First Statewide Method for Calculating the Value of Solar Power March 14, 2014 by Kiley Kroh Read More
Sunday, 16 March 2014 22:00
Jim Stack
Also no tax on leased systems. Utilities should pay the value Solar prices determined with facts and real data. http://www.renewa... Read More
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 09:16
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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.

Recent Comments
Jim Stack
The Utilities have to realize what customers are the ideal and best customer in their area. If they can do this and work with cust... Read More
Saturday, 01 March 2014 21:29
Jim Stack
Imagine Great Solar Policy, Imagine if the State of Arizona had visionary leaders and a Commission like California. They have ... Read More
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 16:34
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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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Jim Stack
It should be pretty easy to count the Solar roof top systems. They can do like New Mexico and even pay a monthly REC to the home o... Read More
Monday, 24 February 2014 22:11
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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.

Recent Comments
Amanda Ormond
Arizona's clean energy industry and advocates have a long history of working together to support the development of all clean tech... Read More
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 16:55
Jim Stack
Bell Labs first commercialized the Solar PV cells in their amazing 5% efficient Solar battery as it was called in 1954. There is n... Read More
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:11
Dale P Carriere
Arizonas Rooftop Solar Industry faces utility opposition due to an outdated utility business model that has not kept up with moder... Read More
Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:37
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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.

Recent comment in this post
Jim Stack
Commissioners can encourage more innovation by only making rules after they have all the facts. If they check all the facts on Net... Read More
Sunday, 12 January 2014 15:04
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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.

Recent comment in this post
Bill Kaszeta
We need to be vigilant and preserve our gains: In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved the Renewable Energy Standard ... Read More
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 07:39
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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.

Recent Comments
Paul Scrivens
As far as I can tell the only real viable residential storage system is batteries. These batteries are expensive and only last a ... Read More
Sunday, 22 December 2013 09:01
Jim Stack
Lithium battery storage lasts much longer, takes less space and is non toxic compared to LEAD. Lead was listed in Popular Science ... Read More
Sunday, 22 December 2013 10:28
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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.

Recent Comments
Lane Garrett
Unstoppable changes are starting to take place. Smart metering, more continuous rates with frequent rate changes (as often as eve... Read More
Monday, 16 December 2013 10:56
Ron Lehr
A recent paper posted on the "America's Power Plan" website discusses what motivations utilities might have to consider new busine... Read More
Monday, 06 January 2014 14:08
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