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Ads Attack Net Metering in Arizona

Linda Hardesty

cactusRecently, two advertisements have aired, attacking net-metering in Arizona, according to a blog on Solar Reviews, which says it is unclear who is funding the ads.

One ad is from a newly formed organization, Prosper, headed by former Arizona House Representative Kirk Adams (R), and the other is from the 60 Plus Association, which views itself as the conservative alternative to AARP.

The ads appear to be in response to a new filing with the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) that would likely result in reduced incentives for roof-top solar from Arizona’s largest utility Arizona Public Service (APS).

While APS’ current net-metering rate for roof-top solar averages 15-16 cents per kWh, the new proposal would reduce that to 6-10 cents per kWh. Net-metered customers would also have to pay a grid-use fee.

According to Solar Reviews, the 60 Plus ad says: “Connected companies getting corporate welfare. Now California’s new Solyndras, SunRun and SolarCity, are getting rich off hard-working Arizonans.” The Prosper ad claims homeowners with solar are paid 5 times the market rate for the power they produce and return to the grid and that other ratepayers have to foot the bill for that.

Earlier this year, the Arizona Corporation Commission eliminated all incentives for commercial solar installations in the state, proclaiming that the solar industry in Arizona was self-sufficient and no longer needed to rely on incentives, which are paid for by ratepayers.

Meanwhile, it seems tensions are rising between utilities and distributed solar stakeholders in other places, as well. In Colorado, Xcel Energy, says it wants to clarify the costs of net metering, according to Solar Industry Magazine. Xcel is motivated by state law to add more small solar distributed generation to comply with Renewable Energy Standards (RES), and the company is even working with community solar projects through its Solar Rewards program. But at the same time, Xcel says net metering incentives come out of the pockets of non-solar customers.

The utility wants the numbers clearly shown. Xcel concedes that distributed solar does save it money for fuel, some future generating plant needs and some system energy losses, reports Solar Industry Magazine. But it says other expenses related to distribution and transmission are paid for by non-solar ratepayers.

Photo credit: charlesw.baileyjr’s Flickr photostream



2 comments on “Ads Attack Net Metering in Arizona

  1. “…the 60 Plus ad says: “Connected companies getting corporate welfare. Now California’s new Solyndras, SunRun and SolarCity, are getting rich off hard-working Arizonans.”

    I can’t speak for AZ but in OR, their were a lot of outsiders who got VERY rich off the tax credits the state gave for wind and solar. The net result was, the abuses killed a VERY good tax payer funded conservation program BETC, much huger utility costs for Oregonians, a once beautiful landscape turned into a horribly ughly forest of mechanized bird killers with power being sent to CA while our hydro power has to be cut back! Wind & SOLAR run honestly, with NO government subsadies is the ONLY way to go – let them stand on their own. Otherwise, a few get rich off the backs of the taxpayer!

  2. First of all, there is nothing inherently wrong with people making money by working within any given business environment – regardless of whether that environment is being influenced by incentives or not. Second, if you disagree with the above statement, then surely you must also be extremely irate at the ongoing tax and investment incentives that are STILL being given to the fossil fuel industries – despite their maturity and many decades of profitable operation.
    Next, your characterization of windmills as “mechanized bird killers” is unfair in the extreme. Buildings kill far more birds annually than do windmills. Household cats are probably the largest source of human-related avian deaths – if you are upset about bird deaths, then you should be trying to ban household cats above all else – cats kill orders of magnitude more birds than do windmills.
    Next, beauty is apparently in the eye of the beholder. I personally like looking at windmills – there is nothing ugly about them. Ditto for fields of solar panels. Both forms of renewable energy represent our future; it would be best to accept them and get on with it. They represent our best hopes to achieve the carbon reductions that are so deperately needed to address global climate change – with all the negative environmental and societal costs that accompany it.

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