AriSEIA Press Release - February 1, 2013
AriSEIA statement on Arizona solar industry status
Michael Neary 602-708-1497
February 1, 2013
Phoenix AZ – The last few days have seen tremendous reaction from citizens of Arizona in support of Arizona's robust solar energy industry. This reaction has prompted media coverage regarding responses to the recent action of the Arizona Corporation Commission that resulted in the elimination of policies that were in place to support the State's commercial solar industry.
The Arizona Solar Energy Industry Association believes it is appropriate to clarify some statements attributed to its Executive Director, Michael Neary.
AriSEIA is very appreciative of the commitment that the three recently elected members of the Commission made to the solar industry during the recent campaign. All three recently elected Commissioners repeatedly were asked about the State's renewable energy standard on the campaign trail and we are thrilled that in each instance the Commissioners reiterated that they would not seek to reduce or eliminate the RES. "The Commissioners' support for the RES was something the solar industry watched carefully and we were pleased with the message we received during the election that these Commissioners were supportive of the current RES" said Neary.
The industry was certainly not pleased with last week's Commission decision that eliminated policies supporting the private and competitive commercial solar industry while dolling out even more solar and more money to the monopoly utilities but it is clear that none of the Commissioners went back on their recent pledges regarding the RES. In fact, we believe that by rejecting an amendment that would have effectively lowered the RES, the Commissioners stood by their campaign promise. "We were surprised that this group of Commissioners passed a plan that seems to have unintentionally favored the monopoly over competition in this market but we were pleased that when they were faced with the key question of lowering the RES the Commissioners passed on the idea" said Neary.
As an industry we remain hopeful that the Commission will take a careful look at its recent decision and take steps to achieve its goals of keeping costs to ratepayers low while also promoting the merits of competition. Neary explained that, “this Commission and its members have spoken favorably about the virtues of the free market and competition and the solar industry in Arizona today is the only alternative people have to the monopoly electrical service provider. We believe that the Commission can have its cake and eat it too so to speak, by keeping this competitive market thriving while still trimming the costs associated with the renewable energy program.”
Further, while the amendment that would functionally lower the RES was unfortunately directed to go through a formal hearing process, we are comforted to know that the Commissioners have been clear in their support of maintaining the RES.
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AriSEIA is the Arizona Chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association, in Washington DC. As the primary solar energy trade association in Arizona, AriSEIA has worked to support public policy that would lead to the sustainable growth of Arizona’s solar industry and the realization on the many benefits that the solar industry can provide to Arizona and the Nation. Members include solar companies from manufactures to contractors, as well as other related businesses interested in the development of solar energy.