So, I just read a slightly confusing article that popped up today on the Phoenix Business Journal’s Web site. The article discusses the Arizona Corporation Commission’s approval of a request for an additional $143 million in commercial solar system incentives to be given out by APS. My personal feelings about this approval aside, based on the content of this article, it doesn’t seem as if there is much favor by the commission for their own decision. The article is riddled with negative comments by the commissioners, while casually mentioning that the incentive increase will benefit the solar industry. Well, of course it will! The more solar installation projects in the works, the better the solar industry will fare.
However, on the flipside, there are comments by several commissioners stating numerous reasons why they hesitantly approved the incentive increase. According to one commissioner, there is concern over whether the systems will continue producing energy through the life of the incentive, which could be 10 to 20 years. To that point, with proper maintenance, most solar systems should last 25 to 35 years. Another commissioner questions whether or not APS has been pushing homeowners to buy into solar systems the same as businesses. This is a valid point if it can be proven that APS is not marketing solar systems to residential customers, but there is nothing in the article that suggests they are not. To play devil’s advocate, there could be many reasons why residential solar installs have not been in as high of demand as expected. Such factors include the number of single-family, currently lived-in homes in APS zones, HOA regulations that may prohibit or delay home owners from installing solar, the inability for homeowners to secure funding, or simply a lack of urgency to make a commitment. This was a big decision the Arizona Corporation Commission made, especially since the increased incentive could affect APS customers. They must expect that some people will be very happy with the decision and others will not be pleased. The commission will be more likely to gain supporters of their decision of they can provide some positive reasons, because they definitely exist.