- Arizona’s Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative (SSVEC) has asked the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to exempt it from paying retail rate remuneration under the state's net energy metering (NEM) policy. The Sierra Vista Herald reports the co-op would like to reduce payments to solar customers for energy sent to its grid from systems installed after April 14, 2015.
- Existing systems will continue to earn the NEM remuneration for 20 years under the proposal. SSVEC says it is losing $1 million year to the 2% of its 51,000 customer-members who have solar panels because as their use of solar causes their electricity usage to decrease, their payments for grid maintenance drop proportionately.
- SSVEC told its members in a letter announcing the changes that it is pro-solar, has installed solar on 41 schools, built two large arrays, and is planning a 20 MW project utility-scale project.
SSVEC estimates that without the NEM remuneration the time needed for an average rooftop solar array in Arizona to pay itself off will increase from between 5 years and 6 years to between 12 years and 18 years.
SSVEC requested the exemption because it anticipates an unsustainable number of its members to choose to own solar if NEM is available.
Many Arizona utilities, anticipating such growth, want similar revenue protections from the ACC. Tucson Electric Power wants to reduce the remuneration rate from $0.13 per kWh to $0.058 per kWh. Arizona Public Service wants to increase solar customers’ per month demand charge from an average $5 to approximately $21. The Salt River Project (SRP) board just approved an estimated $50 per month charge on solar owners.
SolarCity is suing SRP for federal anti-trust violations, claiming the charge discriminates against solar owners.
“There is nothing wrong with rooftop solar technology. It was our price structure that needed to change,” SRP Treasurer and Financial Services Director Steve Hulet told Utility Dive.