By Herman K. Trabish | GreenTech Media
In First Solar’s recent defense of Arizona Public Service, it echoed the utility’s claim that utility-scale solar is the least-cost solar option.
But is utility-scale solar really cheaper than distributed rooftop solar?
In a June op-ed, First Solar CEO James Hughes contended that APS is “right to seek the highest volume of solar power at the lowest cost to rate-paying customers,” adding that “the cost per installed watt of utility-scale systems is as little as one-third that of rooftop systems.”
The two points — that utilities should seek the least-cost option for ratepayers and that utility-scale solar costs less to build — should be considered separately, according to Meghan Nutting, SolarCity Policy/Electricity Markets Director. The Arizona Corporation Commission staff last year concluded that distributed solar and not utility-scale solar is the least-cost renewable resource for utility customers, Nutting observed.
(Disclosure: Rose Law Group represents SolarCity.)