Solar Businesses Speak Out Against Arizona's New Fee
The newly passed fee for Arizona Public Service (APS) customers who will make solar installations after Dec. 31 isn't going over very well.
The largest solar installer in the state is lowering its prices in an attempt to offset the effects of the fee, while another company has already closed its doors and will file for bankruptcy, according to the Arizona Republic.
“There is no way we can stay in business,” Lane Garrett, co-owner of Dependable Solar Products, said of his company, which employed 30 people before the closure.
“Small businesses can no longer compete. That is the bottom line.”
That sentiment might be the reality for Arizona's solar industry after state regulators approved a fee expected to average about $5 per month for the typical home with a solar installation. Following the approval, Lyndon Rive, founder and CEO of SolarCity Corp., decided to lower prices to make his service more attractive to people who were likely put off by the sweeping approval.
Rive told Arizona Republic that the average SolarCity customer saves $5 to $10 each month by reducing their power bill enough to offset a monthly lease payment. Other companies that offer solar panels report that customers save more than $100 a month on their power bills and that it takes about eight and a half years to pay off the purchase price of the panels with the utility savings.
At 70 cents per kilowatt of capacity, the new $5 monthly fee will either wipe out the savings potential for many new leasing customers or extend the payback period for those who buy panels.
Over a 30-year-term, SolarCity will now earn about $1,800 less from each lessee, Rive said.
A smaller utility, SRP, is also considering a fee, but has yet to make a proposal.
"The only way you can take these hits is if you continue to invest in the market and scale [up] the organization,” Rive said. “For those companies who don't, you can only cut costs to a certain level and then you run out of ways to cut costs.
"Some solar companies are going to really struggle with this.”
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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris before deciding to reverse an earlier EPA decision to ban the company's toxic and widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos.
According to records obtained by the Associated Press, the EPA boss met with Liveris for about 30 minutes at a Houston hotel on March 9. Later that month, Pruitt announced that he would no longer pursue a ban on chlorpyrifos from being used on food, ignoring his agency's own review that even small amounts of the pesticide could impact fetus and infant brain development.
Native communities and environmental justice advocates in Louisiana opened a new resistance camp Saturday to oppose the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline project. Called L'eau Est La Vie, or Water is Life, the camp will consist of floating indigenous art structures on rafts and constant prayer ceremonies during its first two weeks.
Continuing its march toward elimination of key Clean Water Act protections, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday issued a formal notice of withdrawal of the Obama administration's rule defining which waters can be protected against pollution and destruction under federal law.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not doing enough to prevent weed resistance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) says a new report from the EPA's Inspector General's Office, which draws in part on a report from the agbiotech company, Pioneer: Weed Management in the Era of Glyphosate Resistance.
When it comes to the latest wind turbine technologies, size matters. A group of six institutions and universities is designing an offshore wind turbine that will stand 500 meters in height. That's taller than the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
The research team, led by researchers at the University of Virginia, believes that its wind turbine concept will produce 50 megawatts of peak power, or about 10 times more powerful than conventional wind turbines.
Natural gas is often considered the cleanest fossil fuel, but could it actually be dirtier than coal?
Watch as New York Times reporter Mark Bittman, in the above Year's of Living Dangerously video, investigates how much methane is leaking at fracking wells. Find out how the natural gas industry's claims compare to what scientists are reporting.
See what happens when Gaby Petron, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA, converts her van into a mobile methane detector and sets out across northeastern Colorado for two years, taking thousands of readings to uncover the truth.
Adrian Grenier: 'We Must Usher in a New Era of Compassion Through Forward Thinking Environmental Programs'
Adrian Grenier was named UN Goodwill Ambassador earlier this month. The Hollywood actor, best known for his iconic role of A-list movie star Vincent Chase in the HBO smash hit and film Entourage, will advocate for drastically reducing single-use plastic and protection of marine species, and encourage his followers to make conscious consumer choices to reduce their environmental footprint, according to the UN Environment announcement.
"Together we must usher in a new era of compassion and carefulness through forward thinking environmental programs to drive measurable change," Grenier said. "I am personally committed to creating ways in which the global community can come together to help solve our most critical climate crises through routine, collective action.
"The more we connect to nature in our daily lives, the more dedicated we will become to our individual commitments. Together, I believe we can go further, faster in our race to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030."
Watch the video above to learn more.