APS Pilot Program Could See Interconnected Solar Rooftops

Arizona Public Service (APS) is launching a pilot project in Flagstaff that could provide a substantial increase in the number of solar rooftops statewide. Proposed in a filing with the Arizona Corporation Commission, the APS Community Power Project will bring solar panels to the rooftops of homes and businesses with no upfront costs to customers.

These panels will become, in essence, an interconnected renewable power plant. The pilot project will enable APS to measure system impacts and to better understand the total customer experience with technology.

APS will own, operate and receive energy from solar panels on eligible customer rooftops. The company will hire solar contractors to install and maintain the systems. Customers will receive an attractive long-term Community Power Rate for the solar portion of their bill, which will remain fixed at a guaranteed level — approximately equivalent to what they pay today — for 20 years.

“The APS Community Power Project will provide our customers another easy option to ‘go solar’ while further accelerating the solar industry in Arizona. The project eliminates upfront costs of more than US $10,000 to each customer, which we know from our experience has been a major deterrent to distributed solar systems here and elsewhere,” said Don Brandt, APS’ chairman and CEO. ”We want to make solar energy affordable to everyone.”

APS intends to have a generating capacity of 1.5 megawatts (MW) from the Community Power Project. Under the current plan, 200 to 300 qualified participants will be interconnected with the electrical grid along a single electric distribution area, or “feeder,” called Sandvig 4 in northeast Flagstaff. The company also plans to install 50 solar water heaters in the pilot area on homes of customers with limited incomes.

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