Civil War Between Utility-Scale Solar and Rooftop Solar?

First Solar has released an editorial and filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission in support of Arizona Public Service's net energy metering proposal.

APS submitted a plan  last July that it said would foster a sustainable, fair and broad-based solar energy future for Arizona. The plan is built around two options, either of which would ensure that APS customers who choose rooftop solar in the future will be compensated fairly for the electricity they generate and pay a fair price for their use of the electricity grid.

According to Greentech Media, now First Solar has jumped into the ring of net metering vs. the true value of solar power. First Solar has little need for net metering because it doesn't do rooftop solar in the residential or commercial-industrial sectors and has yet to get its TetraSun high-efficiency PV effort started. But it has benefited greatly by support from utilities and approvals from regulators for its utility-scale installations.

First Solar’s filing calls for “revising rooftop NEM programs” because there is an imbalance in Arizona’s treatment of solar due to “generous embedded subsidies asymmetrically provided to rooftop solar by NEM.” In an op-ed last spring supporting the Arizona Public Service (APS) proposal, First Solar CEO James Hughes expressed support for the Corporation Commission's proposed change to “a very substantial ‘cross-subsidy’ funded by all other utility customers.”  With this filing, First Solar has taken the APS side in the debate about the costs and benefits of distributed generation and set the NEM issue up as a potential wedge between the distributed solar and utility-scale solar sectors. (Greentech Media)

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