Rooftop solar in Arizona has been booming.
Last month, Arizona Public Service — the primary utility provider in Yavapai County — saw a record number of applications for rooftop solar at 4,726, far outstripping figures from previous months or years.
In 2016, the utility received about 1,640 applications per month on average. In 2015, that average was 1,175. And in 2014, it was 680.
The primary reason for the spike is a nearing decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) on APS’s rate case, said APS representatives.
On Dec. 20, the ACC voted to end the current net metering (NEM) program that allows homeowners to sell the power produced from their solar panels back to the utility at the price they buy power from the utility.
Instead, APS is proposing that solar customers be paid the wholesale price of the energy they sell back to the utility, rather than the retail price.
The compromise would be that current rooftop solar owners, as well as those who apply for rooftop solar installation before the new rates go into effect, would be grandfathered into the current NEM program for 20 years from the date they were connected to the grid.
“As long as your completed solar application is received by APS by the effective date of new rates, and your system is installed within 180 days of approval, you can be grandfathered to the current rules,” an information sheet about the proposal states.
Since the rate case began about a year ago, it was estimated that new rates might be in effect by July 2017.
Using this time frame and the proposal as selling points, Arizona-based solar companies have been encouraging the public to act now on…
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