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Roof Top Solar Wins! -(for now).

Last month, the ACC staff completed their analysis on APS’ request to modify net metering benefits currently received by their customers who have installed roof top solar.

In what is being called a crucial win for roof top solar, the commission states that at this time there is not sufficient cause to modify the current net metering structure. The ACC staff recommendation states that despite a steady decline in upfront incentives, the continued rise is roof top solar installations is evidence that the current net metering structure is sufficient incentive for continued solar energy growth. They suggest that modifying the solar energy rates now for roof top solar customers would remove the industry growth incentive.

The staff memo states that the cost-shift surcharge is unnecessary at this time since a surcharge to prevent revenue loss was agreed upon just last May of 2012. The added surcharge request does more to harm roof top solar customers than it does to benefit all APS customers. Further more, the memo states that the bill credit proposal by APS as a second option is not the same as net metering benefits and is not revenue-neutral. Current users of grid-tied roof top solar will not get the full benefit of providing excess energy to the utility company under this model.

While the rejection of APS’ proposal is a win for roof top solar installations, the ACC staff did provide two alternate recommendations that may avoid legal challenges if the ACC decides it needs to act on the current request. Both alternative options would only affect new customers and come with either a flat charge rate or standby charge. The alternatives still reduce benefits of the current solar net metering options, however not as drastically as that offered by APS. It is important to note that in 2014 APS will be able to have a rate change meeting regardless of how the commission votes this year. While there may be reason for solar customers and installers to celebrate now, this issue will continue down the road.

G&S Electric Inc. is pleased the ACC staff recommends to reject the rate changes currently proposed by APS. However, as a top electrical installer of roof top solar panels and a proponent of photovoltaic energy systems, we strongly urge costumers to install roof top solar options now. It is clear that rate changes will be unavoidable in the future. Installing roof top solar now, may help you avoid net metering rate decreases in the future. Remember that G&S Electric Inc. provides free solar estimates and free solar panel evaluations for your home or office.

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