By guest blogger Tara Rutkowski, GREEN

On August 14, 2017, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted on a pending rate case for Arizona Public Service (APS). This case included a request by APS to end net metering for future solar customers.

Effective August 31 of this year, any homeowner who decides to add solar to their home will not have net metering. Existing solar homeowners were granted a 20-year grandfather clause.

However, it is possible for an existing homeowner or buyer to lose their grandfathering status if they choose to change the rate plan on the home or relocate the solar system to a new home.

Why is Net Metering so important?

  • Net Metering is how the utility company credits homeowners for excess power produced by a solar system at any given time of the day
  • Net Metering allows for a retail rate credit to be issued to a homeowner for power sent back to APS
  • Net Metering allows solar homeowners to bank excess power credits produced in the spring for use later in the summer, when the solar system is not producing enough to cover all of the usage.

Without net metering, the financial savings provided by a solar system looks very different; it’s imperative for homes that are grandfathered in to stay grandfathered in.

The grandfather clause is tied to the old rate plan, so existing solar customers with net metering SHOULD NOT change their rate plan with APS. If they do, they will lose net metering and must choose from one of the new APS rate plans.

In the event a home is sold and the buyer is setting up new service, the buyer MUST KEEP THE EXISTING RATE PLAN USED BY THE CURRENT HOMEOWNER. If the buyer contacts APS to set up service and chooses a different rate plan, they will forfeit their net metering grandfather clause forever. This also applies to rental homes with tenants placing service into their name.

Make sure tenants do not change the rate plan with APS. If they do, the owner will lose net metering.

Furthermore, a solar system CANNOT BE RELOCATED TO ANOTHER PROPERTY and keep net metering. The grandfather clause runs with the existing home and rate plan. In the event the solar system is relocated to a new home, the homeowner will also be required choose from one of the new APS rate plans.

The 20-year grandfather clause starts from the date the system was interconnected with APS. In other words, when it was turned on or commissioned with APS, NOT 20 years from the effective date of August 31, 2017.

For example, a solar system that was interconnected on September 15, 2014, will only have net metering until September 15, 2034. As of September 15, 2017, it only had 17 years of net metering remaining.

REALTOR® Tara Rutkowski, GREEN and a SOLAR EXPERTISE Certified Negotiation Expert, specializes in solar and energy-efficient homes. She spent mpre than eight years assisting homeowners purchase and lease solar photovoltaic systems.

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