New Rates for New Solar Customers
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has approved a new energy export rate to compensate residential and small commercial customers for excess power produced by new private rooftop solar systems.
UniSource will pay new solar customers 11.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for their systems' excess power, a price that reflects average market costs over a recent five-year period. Customers who file applications after Sept. 20, 2018 to install private rooftop solar systems will keep their initial export rate for up to 10 years.
The export rate will be updated annually to reflect market prices for solar power, but will not be allowed to fall more than 10 percent. New solar customers also can choose from two existing Time-of-Use pricing plans, which offer lower rates during most of the day, on weekends and holidays.
When combined with other bill savings, these payments will allow a residential customer to recoup the cost of a new solar array in less than nine years – the same “payback” that was in place during a thriving rooftop solar marketplace in 2015*.
* Based on simple payback for a 6.3 kW DC system sized to offset 100 percent of average monthly usage of 964 kWh. Costs and savings will vary based on usage and installed system size.
The new export rate and other requirements were approved in September 2018 by the ACC, a panel of five elected officials that regulates UniSource and most other electric utilities in Arizona. The review process included input from ACC staff and other key stakeholders, including the Residential Utility Consumer Office, customer groups, rooftop solar installers and UniSource customers.
Current Solar Customers are "Grandfathered"
The new export rate applies to customers who request to interconnect new rooftop arrays to UniSource’s electric system after Sept. 20, 2018 – the effective date of the ACC order.
Customers who already had private solar arrays and those who requested to connect a new system before ACC-approved changes took effect were "grandfathered" under existing rate designs and net metering rules for 20 years from the date they applied to be interconnected to UniSource’s system. All solar customers will pay slightly higher fees to cover the cost of bi-directional meters required to measure excess solar production.