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Solar industry: $336k spent on net metering PR so far, another $100k planned

solar-moneyAn advocacy group for rooftop solar companies told Arizona utility regulators today that it has spent $336,000 fighting the state’s largest utility provider over an incentive that has led to explosive growth for the solar industry in Arizona.

The Alliance for Solar Choice also said it will have spent another $100,000 by the time the Arizona Corporation Commission begins formal hearings next week on whether the incentive should be reduced.

The disclosure was made in response to a request by Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns, who said he was troubled by the highly charged public relations war that’s been waged over the issue.

Burns asked the solar industry advocates and Arizona Public Service, which is asking for a roughly 50 percent reduction to the “net metering” incentive, for a full account of the money they have spent on their respective public relations offensives. Burns asked that each group turn those figures over by Nov. 6.

Burns also asked other electric companies and cooperatives regulated by the Corporation Commission to supply the same information.

APS has yet to disclose how much money it has spent on the net metering issue, but the most recent quarterly earnings report from its publicly-held parent organization, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation, states that the company had spent $9 million through September in the fight over net metering and a now defunct proposal to deregulate Arizona’s energy market.

APS executives said they will meet Burns’ deadline.

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