Why Arizona Ratepayers Can’t Get No Solar Satisfaction

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By Elias Weiss | Phoenix New Times

Arizona’s iconic desert landscape has plenty of sky blue days with enough sunshine to generate power for anything and everything, enough to power every community in the Valley for a year.

Arizona has more than 300 days of sunshine annually, 12 percent more of it than 30 years ago, thanks to climate change.

For most Arizonans it’s a case of sunshine, sunshine everywhere, and not a drop to power their homes.

Barely 8 percent of the energy powering the Grand Canyon State comes from the sun’s rays.

By that calculation, Massachusetts ­harnesses more sunlight than Arizona, with 20 percent of that state’s power generation stemming from solar despite having 197 sunny days each year, below the national average.

Arizona is a top generator of solar power, but it doesn’t trickle down to the residential electric customers because a quarter of it is sold to utilities in other states, especially Nevada and California.

When individuals try to break free of the utility company’s grip over their electric bill by installing solar it can be a difficult hurdle to jump. That’s by design, advocates claim.

“In Arizona, people understand that ­solar is here. They understand that solar works,” said Bret Fanshaw, director of ­Solar United Neighbors of Arizona.

“They largely want solar. But they can’t get it.”

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