Net Metering

Solar customers rely on the electricity grid, too

Solar customers need the electricity grid 24 hours a day. They connect to and rely on this system of poles, wires, substations, power plants, and other equipment to help ensure they have the power they need whenever they need it – at night, when it’s cloudy, or when it’s so hot, they need excess power to run their air conditioners. Solar customers also use the grid to send power back into the system when their panels generate more energy than their home needs.

Net metering is a rate structure that was designed to help stimulate the rooftop solar market. Under these rules, solar customers pay little or nothing to support the grid. Those costs are shifted to non-solar customers. As more people install solar on their homes, it becomes more important that everyone who uses the grid pays their fair share for the costs of keeping the grid operating.

Arizona has taken an important step in the right direction by acknowledging that the costs of the grid should be spread more fairly among all customers, but further reform is needed. By creating the right balance, we can ensure a future in which more and more Arizonans will benefit from both rooftop solar and a reliable grid. 

Read what others are saying about net metering.

“The net-metered customer does not share equally in the overhead costs associated with the grid or other services provided by the utility, producing a very substantial 'cross-subsidy' funded by all other utility customers who must pay proportionately more in rates.”

Net Metering Snapshot

Net Metering


A closer look at the Arizona Corporation Commission's November 2013 net metering decision

What did the ACC determine?
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) ruled that the net metering program should spread the cost of maintaining a reliable electrical grid more fairly among all APS customers. In making its decision, the ACC determined that the current net metering program creates a cost shift, causing non-solar utility customers to pay higher rates to cover the costs of the grid. The ACC voted 3 to 2 to institute a charge on customers who install rooftop solar panels in the future.

How does this decision affect current rooftop solar customers?
Current rooftop solar customers and those who submit the required documentation to install rooftop solar to APS by Dec. 31, 2013 are not subject to the new fixed charge, nor will APS seek to add additional solar-specific charges to these customers. The required documentation for those wishing to make the deadline include:
a) a customer application and interconnect agreement
b) an interconnect application (including all required design documents)
c) a signed contract with a solar installer
d) a hand-signed disclaimer acknowledging that electricity rates and policies may change based on future commission decisions

How does this decision affect future rooftop solar customers?
Customers who choose to install rooftop solar, starting Jan. 1, 2014, will pay a charge of $0.70 per kilowatt to pay for their use of the electricity grid. This will add $4.90 per month to the utility bill for the typical solar customer.

How does this decision affect non-solar customers?
Customers who can’t afford, can’t install or don’t want solar will still see a cost shift, though it was modestly reduced.

Read more about the decision and get additional background on net metering.

Myth vs. Fact

There have been a number of misleading or inaccurate statements about solar energy, net metering and APS’s proposal to reform net metering. Let us clear some of them up:
Myth: Rooftop solar provides power when APS and its customers need it most
Fact: Rooftop solar production peaks between noon and 1 p.m. In Arizona, customers use the most energy from 5-9 p.m., when solar production is minimal or non-existent.

Read more myths and facts about solar energy, net metering and the APS proposal.


Editorial Supports Congressional Request to Review Solar Leases

In its Nov. 30 edition, The Arizona Republic published an editorial supporting the effort of four U.S. Representatives to have Washington’s newest consumer-protection agency review long-term rooftop solar leases. Reps. Ron Barber, Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Gene Green of Texas sent a letter ...

December 01, 2014
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Two Dissenting Commissioners Warn New Fee Is Too Small

An Arizona Republic article highlights dissents to the November 2013 net metering decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission. Commissioners Gary Pierce and Brenda Burns expressed concern that the decision will lead to higher rates for non-solar customers. “In effect, the commission’s ...

December 12, 2013
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News Release: Arizona Corporation Commission Sets New Direction for Net Metering Policy

In making its decision, the ACC determined that the current net metering program creates a cost shift, causing non-solar utility customers to pay higher rates to cover the costs of maintaining the electrical grid.

November 14, 2013
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Arizona can lead the way and fix net metering now.

Arizona has always been on the leading edge of solar innovation. Fixing net metering now will strengthen Arizona’s solar leadership and position our state for sustainable solar growth.

November 08, 2013
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Arizona Republic explores SRP's view in the net metering debate

According to the Arizona Republic, Salt River Project, Arizona’s second largest utility, will be watching closely what happens over the next two weeks. 

November 04, 2013
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  • The Basics of Net Metering
    The Basics of Net Metering
  • Net Metering: The Fairness Issue
    Net Metering: The Fairness Issue
  • EEI Video: Distributed Generation & Net Metering
    EEI Video: Distributed Generation & Net Metering