FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arizona Residents Stand United to Protect Rooftop Solar
Stakeholders Meet Ahead of ACC meeting on the fate of rooftop solar in Arizona.
Phoenix, Arizona — Yesterday, six years after the original solar export rate decision, energy justice and solar advocates held a virtual stakeholder briefing ahead of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) meeting that could alter the future of rooftop solar in Arizona. The briefing, hosted by Solar United Neighbors in collaboration with Vote Solar and the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), shed light on the need to maintain the established rates solar customers are paid by their utility for the extra power they provide to the grid.
WATCH: Stop the Attack on Solar in Arizona Stakeholder Briefing
“Arizonans were promised a certain amount for their excess solar production. They made economic investments based on the ACC’s previous decision. Any changes to the value of solar the Commission makes now r could undermine the private investments made by more than 200,000 Arizonans in an effort to lower their monthly energy bills. Ratepayers rely on their utility’s regulator to make decisions on their behalf that maintain stability and certainty. Reopening the value of solar docket does neither,” said Adrian Keller of Solar United Neighbors.
At the upcoming ACC meeting on October 11th, Commissioners will decide whether to re-examine the solar export rate, which dictates how solar owners are credited for surplus energy they contribute to the grid. The original 2017 decision, reached after a lengthy evidentiary hearing as well as extensive deliberation and compromise, was designed to ensure predictable compensation for solar owners while providing stability to Arizona's rooftop solar market. Re-opening this case would initiate a new proceeding and could lead to significant changes, which could undermine the value of investments Arizona families have already made in solar. If the ACC were to re-open this case, it also sends families and businesses in the state a signal that the ACC could reverse course on other important policy decisions at any time, undermining the value of long-term investments.
Autumn Johnson, Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA), said, “Any changes to the solar export rate would not only affect homeowners but could also jeopardize our state's economic development. Solar employs more than 8,000 people in Arizona and contributed $1.5 billion to the state’s economy last year, with a total market of $16.8 billion. Paired with high interest rates, total market uncertainty could devastate this important industry in one of the sunniest states in the country.”
The potential changes to export rates could include a substantial reduction in compensation for solar energy and the erosion of critical protections for homeowners investing in solar power. A reduction in the export rate would impact the Arizona solar industry during a period of heavy federal investment in clean energy.
“Rooftop solar is an essential tool to help meet Arizona’s rapidly growing energy needs affordably while also improving the resilience of our communities. When families invest their own money in locally-produced solar power, it helps to reduce the need to build expensive new power plants and transmission lines, keeping electricity costs low for everybody. Thanks to new federal programs, tax credits, and financing options, rooftop solar is about to become more affordable and attainable than ever. But changes to the value of solar will slam the door shut on low-income communities, first-time homebuyers, and others who are only now getting access to clean energy solutions for the first time” said Kate Bowman, Vote Solar.
Stakeholders will hold a press conference at the ACC on the morning of their October 11th meeting at 9:30 a.m. After the press conference, advocates and the public will provide public comment.
To review a recording of this briefing, please click here.
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Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association (AriSEIA) is a 501(c)(6) trade organization and the state affiliate of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). AriSEIA works to develop and support policies that create opportunities to advance Arizona’s economy through solar energy, storage, and electrification. We advocate for sustainable job creation and encourage utilization of Arizona’s greatest natural resource, the sun.
Solar United Neighbors is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works in Arizona and nationwide to represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. Solar co-ops are part of the organization’s mission to create a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. Solar United Neighbors holds events and education programs to help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment, and advocate for fair solar policies.
Vote Solar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Vote Solar works to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. Vote Solar works to realize a 100% clean energy future through a solutions-driven, people-first approach.
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