By Barry Goldwater Jr. and Tom Sheahan
The Arizona Corporation Commission is holding a proceeding, tentatively set for Dec. 13, to determine the value of rooftop solar. That’s the value that utilities should pay customers who deliver electricity back to the grid.
It is clear that rooftop solar benefits all Arizonans. It drives down costs for utilities by lessening the need to build new generating stations and transmission lines, for starters, costs that are passed on to us. Solar gives Arizonans options to generate their own electricity and lower their bills. It reduces pollution.
Solar saves water. Solar creates jobs and provides almost 9,000 Arizona families with incomes higher than the national average according to the Solar Foundation.
Rooftop solar encourages free-market competition. That’s why Arizona monopoly utilities have been trying to undermine rooftop solar. They don’t want you to supply any of your own energy.
The outcome of the ACC Value of Solar docket will impact all Arizonans. Recent independent studies conducted in other states show that rooftop solar provides a long-term benefit to all, whether you have solar on your roof or not.
If our Arizona commissioners conclude that solar is not a net positive for everyone, utilities across our state will use this as an excuse to strengthen their monopolies. This will hurt Arizona energy choice and send jobs and business running from the state.
All benefits need to be thoroughly considered in the commissions deliberations.
Currently six utilities regulated by the ACC have filed proposals that threaten to eliminate thousands of solar jobs and the growing solar industry. Now, they are hoping that the value-of-solar proceeding will give them an excuse to do so.
A fair methodology for assessing all of the benefits of rooftop solar would do the opposite and stop the utility assault on rooftop solar in its tracks.
That’s why it’s important for Arizonans to weigh in. Let regulators know the value that rooftop solar and energy choice has for Arizona. Let regulators know that our values lie in individual choice and freedom, homegrown jobs, innovation and competition.
The hearing on the value of solar is tentatively set for Dec. 13. Please reach out before then.
Call the Arizona Corporation Commission and reference the Value of Solar Docket.
Phoenix Office: 602-542-4251 or 800-222-7000 (toll free in-state only).
Barry Goldwater Jr. is a retired California congressman. Tom Sheahan is retired Mohave County (Ariz.) sheriff.