Would You Rent Your Roof to a Solar Company?

Arizona Public Service, the dominant utility company in the state, has filed to install 20 megawatts of solar on 3000 homes within its territory, offering to pay customers who choose to have the systems installed on their roofs for $30 a months. The proposal, if passed, is likely to attract more customers to the renewable energy options offered within the state. Furthermore, APS would handle the hassles of installation and maintenance, both of which have often been cited as deterrence by unsure potential customers. This offer would likely be especially attractive to low income homeowners who are currently unable to install their own solar systems due to their inability to get credit.

However, for customers to adhere to the offer would take their ability to save money and keep their energy costs stable away from them. APS would own the solar panel. The customer’s income would solely come from the rented roof space. Furthermore, under APS’s plan, customers would be faced with annual increases in energy costs.

Solar developers oppose the current proposal, due to the fact it would give unfair advantage to an already prominent company. The Solar Energy Industry Association claims,

Our member companies welcome fair and equal competition, but this move would stack the deck in favor of a company which can rate base solar with a guaranteed rate of return.  How is that fair?”

The proposal would allow renewable energy to become a larger source of power within that area, primarily due to the offer of assisted installation and maintenance. Solar power is becoming more and more attainable for medium and low-income households, thanks to rebates and attempts by companies to bring the technology into every-day use. However, such a proposal if passed would take away the savings incurred by consumers should they have installed and maintained the panels independently.

 

Read more here, “Arizona Utility to Pay Consumers for Rooftop Space for Solar,” (Michael Kanellos, Forbes)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.

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