ACC reopens Renewable Energy Standard rules, but gives assurance it will not be lowering standard

ACCBy Ryan Randazzo | The Republic |

With Arizona Public Service Co. exceeding the state requirement that a small percent of its power come from rooftop solar, regulators on Thursday supported giving the company a waiver of the requirement while they figure out a way to count solar installations.

The five Arizona Corporation Commissioners voted to revisit the state’s renewable-energy rules to address how utilities recognize solar, but emphasized they do not intend to reduce the amount of renewable power used in the state.

Arizona requires utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025, and 30 percent of that power must come from rooftop solar or other “distributed” sources.

“This action does not reduce the 15 percent renewable-energy standard this commission has uniformly supported,” Commissioner Susan Bitter Smith said.

The requirements escalate each year. For 2014, APS is required to get 4.5 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, 1.4 percent of which must come from distributed sources. APS has enough customers using solar today to meet the requirement through 2016 at least.

But regulators, solar industry representatives and APS are at an impasse regarding how to comply with the rules, which are written in a way that requires utilities to purchase renewable-energy credits, or RECs. Solar prices have dropped so much that APS no longer buys RECs to subsidize solar installations, and customers are putting up the panels without financial help from the company.


Related: APS’ request for change in renewable energy goals reignites fight with solar industry

ACC to allow waivers from rooftop solar mandate

If you’d like to discuss energy issues, contact Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s Renewable Energy Department at



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February 2014