Rooftop Solar Press Conference, Today at 1:30 pm


Rooftop Solar Press Conference  
When: Wednesday, August 9th 1:30 pm
Where: Heber M Wells Building, 160 E 300 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

The solar industry, solar advocates, and the public gather today to support rooftop solar at the Public Service Commission’s Rooftop Solar Hearing.

With the future of rooftop solar in Utah in jeopardy, a strong coalition has come together to urge the Public Service Commission to support the growing and popular energy source in Utah. Utah’s primary utility, Rocky Mountain Power, has requested that the Commission increase electric rates on rooftop solar to make it prohibitively expensive.

“Rocky Mountain Power is reluctant to agree to a collaborative solution,” Says HEAL Utah’s Senior Policy Associate Michael Shea “Rather than develop terms that fully consider the data and desired outcomes of all parties, the company seems to take the position that rooftop solar will be a detriment to their bottom line.”

If the PSC approves the utility’s request, solar customers could see their bills increase by hundreds of dollars each year. The increase would extend, by a decade or more, payback for the cost of rooftop solar systems, thereby making the capability of buying a system for the average Utahn nearly impossible.

The consequences of the PSC decision could not be more real. One only has to look at Nevada to see what happens when rates increase dramatically for rooftop solar customers. Ryan Evans, President of the Utah Solar Energy Association, addressed the stakes

“If rates increase and the economics of investing in solar become less affordable, the solar industry will be hurt badly. This is a new and budding industry has grown to more than 4,400 jobs and contributes more than $350 million annually to the Utah economy. Should the utility’s proposal go forward we expect the majority of those jobs and economic investment will be lost.  In the State of Utah we ought to be able to find a better path forward than the dramatic changes proposed for solar customers. “

Utahns make investments in rooftop solar for a variety of reasons. Whether for economic or environmental reasons, or because they value the ability to choose how to generate their own power, they all agree that rooftop solar is a beneficial technology which has improved their lives.

“I installed my system because I wanted to do the right thing by bringing more clean energy onto the grid, but it also has saved my household a lot of money,” says current system owner Paul Van Damn “It is a win-win. I save on electricity bills and provide energy to neighbors when my system is producing excess power. However, if rates increase, I would never have been able to purchase my system in the first place.”

The coalition is urging the public service commission to find a solution which will allow Utahns to continue to adopt this technology. A technology which has benefits for the whole state.

Ryan Evans, Utah Solar Energy Association: revans@utsolar.org, (801) 509-1201
Michael Shea, HEAL Utah: michael@healutah.org, (801) 706-1885
April Matthews, Sierra Club: april.thomas@sierraclub.org, (206) 321-3850