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Arizona Regulators Vote To Modify, Reduce Rates For Rooftop Solar

Arizona regulators have voted to dramatically change the rates for rooftop solar customers hooked up to the grid.

The decision comes after two days of testimony and public comment. The 4 to 1 vote by the Arizona Corporation Commission could signal a key turning point in the long running debate between utilities and the solar industry.

The commission voted to significantly reduce how much new solar customers will be compensated for their excess power, known as net-metering. Existing customers, however, will be grandfathered for 20 years.

For the pending rate cases, such as Arizona Public Service and Tucson Electric Power, the value of rooftop solar will be based on what utilities can purchase from large scale solar farms on the wholesale market, rather than at the retail rate as had been the case.

For future cases, regulators will be able to use several different methodologies for determining the value of solar.

APS applauded the decision because it will deal with the growing cost shift onto non-solar customers.

Meanwhile, the solar industry opposed several aspects of the ruling, saying it didn’t take into consideration all the long-term benefits.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.