Arizona Public Service (APS) has filed with state regulators for a change to its AZ Sun Program that would allow it to install 20 MW of solar PV plants on customer rooftops. According to an APS blog, participating customers who host the systems would pay no up-front charges, and would receive a US$30 credit on their monthly utility bill for 20 years.
This 20 MW of distributed PV would replace a 20 MW PV plant that APS had planned to build near Tonopah, Arizona. The Arizona Corporation Commission will now decide whether or not to approve APS’ plans.
The move is in sharp contrast to APS’ prolonged efforts to curtail net metering in Arizona, which culminated in the imposition of a US$0.70 per kW per month charge on new PV systems participating in the program in November 2013.
During the run-up to this decision, APS commissioned studies which concluded that net metering is a significant net burden to the utility system. The repeated use of messaging by the utility that solar imposes costs on other ratepayers including statements still on the company website make plans to pay homeowners for hosting PV systems even stranger.
The U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has noted the contradiction in APS’ plans. After attacking rooftop solar companies in Arizona relentlessly for more than a year, this latest tactic by APS has a Trojan Horse smell to it, said SEIA VP of Communications Ken Johnson.
Our member companies welcome fair and equal competition, but this move would stack the deck in favor of a company which can rate base solar with a guaranteed rate of return. How is that fair?
APS did not return PV Magazine’s calls by press time.