Two of Arizona’s largest electric utilities, Arizona Public Service (APS) and Salt River Project (SRP), are continuing to make considerable investments in their total solar capacity.
This news comes by way of azcentral.com. Multiple recent articles from this news site have detailed what these two utilities have on their solar horizons.
APS currently has the most installed solar capacity in Arizona at about 1.4 gigawatts. The most notable installations include; The Solana Generating Station, the Red Rock Solar Plant, and 9 AZ Sun large-scale solar plants. In addition to increased solar expansion, APS is planning on incorporating a great deal of energy storage as well. In fact, one of their battery projects may just be the largest in the country. APS also claims that 50 percent of the electricity that they provide to their customers comes from renewable sources.
The utility that is making great strides to catch up to APS is Salt River Project. Like APS, the SRP serves approximately 1 million people. SRP currently only has about 200 megawatts of solar power capacity. However, the utility is planning on adding 1,000 megawatts by 2025. This is enough power for about 250,000 homes.
The efforts by these two utilities and the others in Arizona definitely help explain how the state has the third most installed solar capacity in the country.
Although the main emphasis of this article is about utility-scale solar, it would not be right to leave out what has been happening with the state’s residential solar market. While more solar at any scale is, in general a good thing, Arizona’s story so far has not been too consumer friendly. Arizona is one of the only states to offer net metering and then essentially take it away. Homeowners are currently not fairly compensated for their excess electricity. The good news is that this is a temporary setback. The economics of solar plus storage is looking more and more attractive.
It’s simple. Residential solar represents a real threat to their business model. This strategy will be short lived as more homeowners not only go solar, but begin to purchase energy storage systems as well. At that point, solar consumers will no longer be at the whim of any utility’s net metering rules.
We absolutely need to install as much solar as we can, as soon as possible. This includes all scales – utility, commercial, and residential. So it’s great to see that Arizona is one of the states that is leading the way. It would just be a shame if more homeowners continue to miss out on one of, if not the greatest economic opportunity to arise in a very long time.