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State weighs solar proposal seen as key test

Mon, Jul 6, 2009

Energy

Arizona Republic
By ryan Randazzo

A solar-power company's plan to put panels on two Scottsdale school roofs could end up changing the way solar energy is bought and sold in Arizona.

If approved by state regulators, the plan could help expand the use of renewable energy by helping schools, governments and other big users get solar panels without the big up-front costs.

If the plan is rejected, backers say, it could choke the state's burgeoning solar-power movement.

Hurdles are expected. The proposal essentially would let solar-panel makers sell electricity without the oversight of state regulators, and at least one Arizona utility objects.

The proposal changes the common business arrangement for solar power. In a typical scenario, contractors install rooftop solar arrays for a large facility. The facility buys the panels or leases them from the installer. The facility then uses its own power, which comes free from the sun, and sells any extra back to an electrical utility.

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Tags: Solar power, Renewable energy, Scottsdale schools

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