APS Pilot Envisions Interconnected
May 11, 2008 - Business Wire
Arizona Public Service (APS) is launching
an innovative pilot project in Flagstaff that ultimately
could provide a substantial increase in the number
of solar rooftops statewide.
As envisioned in a proposal filed today
with the Arizona Corporation Commission, the APS Community
Power Project will bring solar panels to the rooftops
of homes and businesses with no upfront costs to customers.
These panels will become, in essence, an interconnected
renewable power plant. This pilot project will enable
APS to measure system impacts and to better understand
the total customer experience with technology.
APS will own, operate and receive energy
from solar panels on eligible customer rooftops. The
company will hire solar contractors to install and
maintain the systems. Customers will receive an attractive
long-term Community Power Rate for the solar portion
of their bill, which will remain fixed at a guaranteed
level - approximately equivalent to what they pay
today - for 20 years.
"The APS Community Power Project will
provide our customers another easy option to 'go solar'
while further accelerating the solar industry in Arizona.
The project eliminates upfront costs of more than
$10,000 to each customer, which we know from our experience
has been a major deterrent to distributed solar systems
here and elsewhere," said APS Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer Don Brandt. "We want to make solar energy
affordable to everyone."
APS intends to generate 1.5 megawatts
(MW) of electricity from the Community Power Project.
Under the current plan, 200 to 300 qualified participants
will be interconnected with the electrical grid along
a single electric distribution area, or "feeder,"
called Sandvig 4 in northeast Flagstaff. This area,
which serves approximately 3,000 residential and business
customers, is bounded by Wupatki Trail to the north,
Railhead Avenue to the south, Kochfield Road to the
east and Timberline Estates to the west.
Additionally, APS will install utility-scale
banks of solar panels and small wind turbines in the
test area. The company also plans to install 50 solar
water heaters in the pilot area on homes of customers
with limited incomes.
The APS Community Power Project will
benefit from ongoing Smart Grid initiatives in Flagstaff,
where automated meters and switches on lines and substation
equipment are being installed to provide enhanced
two-way communications with APS. The technologies
will improve responsiveness and reliability and eventually
lead to other innovations and customer benefits.
While the investment in the pilot project
will total $14.7 million, it will not result in an
increase to customer bills because much of the funding
is included in the Renewable Energy Standard surcharge
already collected. Arizona's RES requires 15 percent
of APS's generation to come from renewable resources
"The Arizona Corporation Commission
has shown great leadership and support of renewable
energy and solar power in particular," said Brandt.
"We believe this is the type of innovation they have
encouraged, and they will be vital partners as we
test the possibilities for community-powered solar
energy in Arizona."
APS plans to use renewable energy to
meet 1,600 MW of the more than 4,000 MW of growth
in energy consumption expected over the next 15-20
years. While much of this energy will come from central
power stations such as Solana, a 280-MW concentrating
solar facility planned for 2012 near Gila Bend, Ariz.,
30 percent of the RES is required to be generated
from distributed sources, such as rooftop solar installations.
"This project provides great advantages
to all Arizonans because of its broad-based benefits
to the environment and to the economy. The initiative
also stimulates the market for solar manufacturers
and installers," said Brandt. "On the APS side, we
will be the first utility in the nation to offer a
fixed rate in exchange for hosting a system. We also
will be one of the first to study and fully understand
the impact on the electrical system when high concentrations
of consumers are producing renewable energy that goes
on the grid."
More information on the APS Community
Power Project can be found at www.aps.com/communitypower.
Information on current ACC-approved APS renewable
energy programs for customers can be found at www.aps.com/greenchoice.
APS, Arizona's largest and longest-serving
electric utility, serves more than 1.1 million customers
throughout the state. With headquarters in Phoenix,
APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital
Corp. (NYSE: PNW).
SOURCE: Arizona Public Service