Rooftop solar debate heats up as APS ad hits airwaves - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Rooftop solar debate heats up as APS ad hits airwaves

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

A new television ad has started to run, supporting an APS plan to hit residential solar customers with higher fees.

But new questions have been raised, that the ad may be misleading.

The 30-second TV spot throws out a lot of information about solar in Arizona and why home solar customers are not paying their fair share.

The ad claims, "The average home solar system adds $20,000 in costs for customers who don't get the benefits."

Clint Taylor with Arizona Solar Concepts thinks the ads are misleading.

"Absolutely not true," said Taylor. "The numbers don't add up. I think APS sees the solar industry as a threat now. It's definitely to persuade the public in their perception of solar."

According to APS, every home solar customer is avoiding about $1,000 in infrastructure costs each year.

CBS 5 News ran some numbers and found that with roughly 18,000 APS solar customers, that adds up to about $18 million a year passed on to everyone else.

Divide that by the 1 million current APS customers and that's about $18 a year, per APS customer - not exactly $20,000 like the ad says.

APS Vice President Jeffrey Guldner stands behind the TV ad, which they did not produce.

He said the $20,000 figure is based on money each home solar customer would pass on to everyone else over a 20-year period. It's also based on thousands of new home solar customers, and the presumption that APS' solar program remains the same.

"The way I would look at it is, there is about $1,000 when a customer switches in a given year that would be shifted over to non-participating customers," said Guldner. "As you ad that up and have a larger group of participating customers, and a smaller group of remaining customers, the cost will grow for remaining customers and customers for solar will get a better deal."

APS officials said that with more than 500 solar customers coming online each month, they have to do something to keep costs down for non-solar users.

Guldner said that APS is a big supporter of solar power, but needs to create a system that's fair for both solar and non-solar customers.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.