The proposal was spearheaded by the Beyond Coal campaign and supported by residents from across the Valley.
“Our mission is to transition this country away from energy sources that make us sick and pollute our air and water such as coal, and towards clean energy such as wind, solar, and other renewables,” stated Will Greene, the organizing representative of the Beyond Coal campaign. “While we can always count on utility rates to increase, the cost of solar is moving in one direction – downward.”
Will went on to highlight the benefits of rooftop solar in Arizona – nearly 10,000 solar industry jobs, increased economic activity, less wear and tear on the power grid, and costly investments in new power plants delayed or even cancelled as a result of customers turning their roofs into power plants.
But all of this is in jeopardy as a result of APS’s proposal to curtail the current policy of rooftop solar crediting, known as net metering. The proposal, currently under consideration by the Arizona Corporation Commission, would cause rooftop solar customers to see the value of the power they produce cut in half. Moreover, this would add a huge price tag to residential solar installations, effectively removing the financial incentive to go soar, likely crippling the industry.
A community member, Jeanne Devine, provided the best example of why net metering needs to be protected. A longtime friend of Guadalupe, having provided support for the YWCA in the 70’s, she’s now retired and on a fixed income. Looking to improve her home, save money on utility bills, fight climate and contribute to Arizona’s energy independence, she took out a home equity loan and added solar panels to her house. “The savings have been tremendous,” she told the town council. “I’m saving 60% on my utility bills. The loan will be paid off in a just a few years. Without net metering, none of this would have been possible.”
The council, moved by her testimony, voted unanimously to support net metering and oppose APS’s proposal. Afterwards, the councilors thanked the people who participated in the meeting, and even talked about adding solar to the town’s buildings.
Closing the meeting, Mayor Jiminez voiced her support for the resolution with the bold declaration: “Save Solar!”
Guadalupe’s resolution join two other towns and more than 20,000 individuals who support rooftop solar energy. All eyes remain trained on the Corporation Commission, whose soon-to-be-released staff report will provide guidance on the Commission’s final decision.