The Arizona Solar Energy Industry Association (AriSEIA) was happy to learn yesterday that Arizona Public Service has committed to a clean energy future. This announcement follows in the footsteps of many investor-owned utilities throughout the country, but AriSEIA would like to see this commitment expanded to include solar industry stakeholders in a more meaningful way.
“Though we are excited about the APS announcement and advancement to replace polluting coal with energy that is less expensive and harmful to our environment — namely, solar and battery storage solutions — AriSEIA would like to see APS provide additional clarification with regard to renewable energy not owned and controlled by APS,” said AriSEIA president, Brandon Cheshire. “The current solar policies set by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) have harmed both the rooftop solar industry and customers over the past several years, so we would like to see commitment from APS and the ACC to correct these detrimental policies.”
As reported in 2019, APS spent millions of dollars they had previously denied spending to help elect anti-solar candidates in the 2014 and 2016 ACC races. New APS CEO Jeff Guldner has since committed to stay out of spending money on the campaigns of those elected to regulate them, but serious damage was done to the rooftop solar industry in the process, such as ending net metering.
Excitement for renewable energy in a sunny state like Arizona should expand beyond utility-owned and controlled investments because it’s a win for people, planet and profit, given the steadily declining prices as consumer demand grows and technologies continue to improve. There are 571 solar companies currently operating in Arizona, more than 7,500 solar jobs, and the industry invested $735.07 million into Arizona in 2018 alone. Currently, only 6.62% of the state’s electricity comes from solar, so both residential and commercial rooftop solar can have a hugely positive impact in helping APS — and Arizona — reach a 100% carbon-free energy goal by 2050.
“We’re all excited to see APS make these proclamations toward sensible renewable goals, but the same certainty it gives itself and contractors should be extended to residential solar customers if they (APS) really mean what they say,” AriSEIA VP Court Rich said. “The ACC should also make it a priority to ensure future rooftop solar customers are fairly compensated for the energy they produce and give back to the grid, and the current Commission should freeze the compensation rate at its current level and end the annual declines that APS and its former utility-friendly Commissioners implemented. This will also be sustainable for the long-term success of the rooftop solar industry.”
AriSEIA’s goal is to be part of the future to bring low cost, clean energy to Arizona ratepayers. We wish to be good partners and to bring choices to Arizonans who choose renewable energy, whether on their rooftops or large renewable projects, and hope to see additional data-driven policy support this latest APS announcement in the near future.
News item from AriSEIA