The APS Rate Case: 6 Things You Should Know Author:

 

Whether currently a solar customer or hoping to go solar in the future, if your energy provider is APS, you should be aware of their proposed changes to solar rates and rooftop solar compensation. APS has proposed a new solar compensation model to The Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) that will go into effect July 1, 2017.  Here’s the scoop on what APS has proposed for the new solar rate case and what could be in store for future solar customers:

 

1. Net metering will be dramatically decreased. Net metering offers solar customers credits for each kilowatt-hour of excess energy that goes back to the grid. Those credits are what allow homeowners to greatly reduce their energy bills by offsetting the electricity the homeowners use at night or when their panels aren’t working as efficiently.  The current retail net-metering rate is between $0.13 to $0.14 per killowatt-hour. This rate will decrease on the new rate plan, giving less value to solar customers who sign up after July 1.

2. Current solar customers and all APS customers who file an interconnection application before the decision is made on July 1, 2017 will be grandfathered in for 20 years.  Marked from the date the system was connected to the grid,  all grandfathered systems will continue to be unaffected by these new rates for 20 years.  This grandfathering is tied to the property, not the homeowner; so if you decide to move in the next 20 years, your solar system can increase the property value of your home and current solar benefits will remain in place regardless of change of ownership.

To get the most lucrative results from your solar installation, your signed installer contract and interconnection application must accepted by APS by July 1, 2017 – your system does not have to be completed by then.

3. Customer’s who connect their system after July 1, 2017 will only be approved for 10-year grandfathering.  As opposed to the 20 years guaranteed for current solar customers and those who go before July 2017, future solar customers will only have the option to lock in their rates (the export rate of the year of their interconnection application) for up to 10 years.

4. System additions after June 2017 could void 20-year grandfathering.  The grandfather clause applies to all current customers and those who sign up before July 1, 2017 – as long as the system remains in it’s original location and size. If you are a current solar homeowner who may be wanting to add on to your current system, make that decision before July to keep the solar plan you have!

5. Demand-based pricing for all. Similar to what SRP did with their E27 solar plan in 2015, APS is hoping to introduce new demand fees into their monthly billing cycle. Demand-based pricing adds a new charge that is assessed from your highest, 60-minute window of energy use every month. This proposed hike will raise monthly bills by around $6 per month, regardless if solar or not.

Even with these demand fees, solar will help lower your energy bills and has been proven effective against the SRP model in the past few years. However, because we can’t be certain what demand-pricing APS may produce, we highly recommend that APS customers sign up before July 1, 2107 to guarantee the highest amount of savings.

6. On & off peak hours will change. Current APS peak hours are noon to 7pm weekdays, but APS is attempting to better align with most people’s actual peak hours by shifting peak hours to 3-8pm weekdays. This sounds ideal, because it shaves 2 hours off the peak charges. However, it also shifts those hours back to later in the day, which will effect future solar customers hoping to offset the maximum number of on-peak hours while the sun is out. This is one of the most compelling reasons to make the switch to solar before the changes and take advantage of the 20 year grandfather clause.

 

The ACC is expected to vote on these rate case items sometime between June 1 and June 31, 2017.  If approved, plans will go into effect as soon as July 1, 2017. If you have considered going solar in the past or are new to the idea, time is of the essence! Make the switch before July 1, 2017 to guarantee that you will get grandfathered in and lock-in your rates for the next 20 years!

If you are hesitant to go solar because you are unsure if you will stay in your current home for the next 20 years – rest assured that the grandfather clause is attached to the property, rather than the homeowner. Meaning you can sell your home with solar attached and pass along those savings to the next buyers – increasing the value of your home!

Get a free, custom solar quote from Rooftop Solar today and learn how much you could potentially be saving. Don’t wait until you’ve missed the opportunity to get the most out of your solar!

 


TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS PROPOSED SETTLEMENT:

Settlement as of 3/1/17  http://docket.images.azcc.gov/0000177680.pdf

Arizona Vote Puts an End to Net Metering – Green Tech Media

The Art of Compromise: Inside the APS Solar Rate Design Settlement – UtilityDive.com

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