A new front opens in the solar wars.
Bruce Radford is publisher and acting editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Late on a Tuesday afternoon, just hours before putting this issue to bed, my email box exploded with news too good to pass up. Flouting my deadline, I set aside my initial stab at this column, nearly finished - my heart wasn't in it anyway - and started again from scratch, though it meant a late night.
The message had come from Ken Johnson, v.p. for communications at SEIA, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade group that represents solar players other than utilities. SEIA represents companies that engage in research, manufacturing, distribution, finance, and construction for solar energy facilities. And Johnson saw no need to mince words:
"In a move condemned by many solar companies in Arizona, the state's largest utility, APS [Arizona Public Service], has announced that it will begin installing rooftop solar on customers' homes."
Johnson then added:
"After attacking rooftop solar companies in Arizona relentlessly for more than a year, this latest tactic by APS has a 'Trojan Horse' smell to it. 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 Arizona Corporation Commission needs to think this through very carefully."