SolarCity, Kyocera Solar Inc. and Suntech Power have joined with other solar energy providers to warn that if Arizona H.B.2701 were to be passed into law, it would jeopardize Arizona's entire renewable energy industry.
H.B.2701 proposes to replace the existing renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in Arizona with one that would allow utilities to use existing nuclear and hydroelectric power to meet the RPS requirements, eliminate distributed generation requirements within the bill and eliminate any interim requirements between now and 2025.
The bill also sets up a far more burdensome regulatory scheme for solar companies and utilities, replacing the current system of regulation by the Arizona Corporation Commission with a ‘double regulation’ approach that includes the Arizona State Legislature. If the bill passes, Arizona will have more government regulation of solar companies and utilities than any other state, according to the companies.
The bill's inclusion of non-renewables in the definition of renewable energy, new ‘double regulation’ and other changes to the RPS would likely halt all new renewable energy development in the state, undercut one of Arizona's fastest-growing industries and put thousands of existing and future jobs in jeopardy as the state's economy recovers from the effects of the recession, the firms state.
‘Passage of this bill will force us to reconsider our decision to put a factory in Arizona, moving those jobs and the accompanying tax base to another state,’ says Steve Chadima, vice president of external affairs for Suntech Power Holdings. Suntech recently announced it would select Goodyear, Ariz., for its first U.S. factory.
The full text of the bill is available here.