APS on PBS: Today’s Solar Policies Are a "House of Cards"

August 01, 2013

APS General Manager for Energy Innovation Barbara Lockwood appeared on PBS Channel 8’s “Horizon” program last night to discuss the company’s solar net metering proposal, including the role of increasing up-front incentives for new residential rooftop solar customers. The segment begins at 17:05 of the program (video).

The goal, Lockwood said, is to improve solar’s sustainability in Arizona for the long term.

“One important thing to understand is that solar customers and the grid are dependent on each other 24 hours a day. It’s a symbiotic relationship that works very well,” she said.

“[But] the policies we’ve had in the past are not what’s going to take us forward into the future. Those policies were created on a foundation that really doesn’t stand up anymore. In some ways it’s like a house of cards. The more you put into that policy, the more unstable it becomes.

“We’re looking to address that and so it can stand the test of time so that five, ten, fifteen years into the future Arizonans still have a choice to go solar.”


APS convened a series statewide solar stakeholders over a six-month period to inform its proposals, which include grandfathering existing customers and proposing that the Commission adopt one of two new solar rate programs in combination with increased up-front incentives.  Lockwood addressed each of these:

On grandfathering: “We have over 18,000 customers who have gone solar. We thank them. We asked them to go solar. We’re very proud that they’ve done so. They stay. Nothing we are proposing now would affect them. They will continue to enjoy the benefits of their current [situation].”
On proposed new solar rate plans: “It’s about fairness. We want to compensate future solar customers for the solar they are producing. And we ask that they continue to pay a fair price for the grid they continue to rely on.”

On up-front incentives: “We are looking to continue to support solar for our customers and we recognize that the proposal we’ve made will have an impact. We are looking to help offset some of that impact with up-front cash incentives….We’ve had them for awhile. They have come down over time…. [They are currently at] 10 cents a watt. We want to increase these so that we can help to make sure solar remains a viable option….This will reduce the up-front cost.”

On proposed new solar rate plans: “It’s about fairness. We want to compensate future solar customers for the solar they are producing. And we ask that they continue to pay a fair price for the grid they continue to rely on.”

On up-front incentives: “We are looking to continue to support solar for our customers and we recognize that the proposal we’ve made will have an impact. We are looking to help offset some of that impact with up-front cash incentives….We’ve had them for awhile. They have come down over time…. [They are currently at] 10 cents a watt. We want to increase these so that we can help to make sure solar remains a viable option….This will reduce the up-front cost.”