Arizona Public Service (APS) has been in my solar news pipeline quite a bit recently as they are generally whining about roof-top solar and attempting to obstruct progress and profit from other people’s investment by adding solar surcharges to monthly bills for net-metering customers who have installed pv on their homes.  At the same time, they are scrambling to meet a 2025 RPS (renewable portfolio standard) requirement of 15% with a 3% solar carve out.

It now appears that APS will install pv modules on 3000 homes (20 MW total, 6.6 KW avg for each home) and give customers a $30 per month credit on their bills for the use of their roofs.  The contract is the standard 20 years, so the total these customers will be paid is $7200 over the 240 months.

If  pv array in Arizona makes 1800 kwh per KW per year, then that 6.6 KW pv array would generate 11,880 kwh/year (at times of peak load, which is the most valuable time to make electricity.  If the average retail rate of electricity is 12.5 cents per kwh for residential Arizona electricity, then the retail value of the electricity made by that hypothetical 6.6 KW pv system is $1485 today (do you think the price of electricity might go up over the next 20 years?)   For that amount of electricity, APS is willing to pay you $360, a rate locked in for 20 years.  Hmm, thanks but no thanks.

If I am reading this correctly, it will look tempting to many, but its a very good deal for APS, and a bad deal for the customers.  I’d rather own my pv myself and get the full benefit of all the energy it produces over its life, rather than lease my roof for a paltry $30 per month and let the utility get the bulk of the benefit.  I’m thinking my sunny roof in Arizona would be worth a whole lot more than that.