Solar Energy Won’t Be Killed ( Solar Thermal Magazine)
The decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to significantly restrict attempts by utility monopolies Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power to enter the private rooftop solar industry represents a good faith effort from Arizona regulators to rein in such attempts following the rejection of similar proposals in Colorado, South Carolina, and Washington states.
The ACC protected the integrity of the free market by refusing to grant solar program cost recovery to APS and TEP, telling the utilities that they must proceed with the programs at their own risk. Further, the ACC drastically restricted those programs through a compromise that limits them to ratepayers with low credit ratings, and pilot research projects. The utilities were not permitted to use captive ratepayer dollars to fund a rooftop solar program which would expand their monopolies and allow them to unfairly compete with private sector rooftop solar providers. The original APS proposal was also opposed by Arizona Corporation Commission staff.
While the ACC mandated that utility forays into distributed solar be done solely for research purposes, the Commission declined to investigate a proposal by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) to conduct the same research for one tenth of the cost to ratepayers. While no compromise is perfect, this measure does mean utilities won’t be able to use their government guaranteed profits to drive a competitor out of business, a move that would be an anathema to core Republican principles.
Barry Goldwater Jr
Chairman, Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed (TUSK)
TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) was formed to stand for energy choice and energy independence. To learn more about TUSK visit www.dontkillsolar.com. TUSK believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence means smaller profits for the utilities, so they are doing everything they can to stop the spread of independent solar.