(*From MN solar values study)
APS recently released a cost of service study that completely omits the benefits of solar energy. Where is the demand for a truly holistic, big-picture study which examines the value and benefits of solar, in addition to the costs? A study such as this stands a much better chance of assuring economic fairness for the rate-payers, as well as addressing our need to get serious about clean energy immediately – especially solar here in Arizona.
Numerous studies have shown solar energy producers provide a value to the utility, often in excess of their compensation. Even if a solar producer pays zero for their electricity bill, APS has received something of value. It’s just not cash. The utility’s rationale behind this study only has to do with fixed costs. Yes, APS has fixed costs to provide service to their customers, but so does ANY business that stays open, lit, and operational.
It’s about the bottom line, really. Imagine a public utility that considered the bottom line of a low income household. The cost of electricity for these families can exceed 1/3 of their income. Solar power can provide economic justice and security for these families. We cannot therefore omit the benefits solar can provide across all economic spectrums. When power is supplied at the retail level, it should be compensated at retail prices. This is supply and demand -- basic economics.
Arizonan’s overwhelmingly love solar energy. It represents self-reliance, clean energy, and local power. The future of solar energy will require a different approach than the past. The public must demand a true cost/benefit study, looking at the big picture, including healthcare costs associated with dirty energy which also disproportionately affects low-income families. Without this comprehensive study, we face a harsh reality of what our Arizona future looks like.
Any business who arbitrarily raises prices will lose customers. The public likes to have choices, and more of them are seeing the “value” of solar and making that choice. APS should not be able to take that choice away by making rooftop solar unattainable.