Rooftop solar

TEP proposed a new rate structure for solar customers.

Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star

State utility regulators have postponed until mid-December consideration of proposals on how to value rooftop solar, in a case that may determine the treatment of customers of Tucson Electric Power Co. and other utilities who install solar.

The Arizona Corporation Commission tentatively had planned to consider the matter in late November. But Commission Chairman Doug Little moved to push the hearing off, citing conflicts among several parties.

The hearing on the value of solar, now scheduled for on Dec. 19 in Phoenix, is expected to help establish a statewide policy that will guide the commission as it considers pending rate cases filed by TEP and others.

TEP and other utilities want to impose higher charges on rooftop solar customers and cut the credits they get excess energy production, contending solar customers aren’t paying their fair share of fixed costs.

Solar industry advocates say rooftop solar provides short- and long-term benefits to all customers by providing clean power and lessening the need to build new fossil-fuel power plants.

A Corporation Commission hearing officer has recommended that net metering, the process by which rooftop solar customers are credited for their production, eventually be eliminated but for now solar should be valued based on short-term cost studies or the cost of energy from utility-scale solar farms.