Recently, 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.
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