An interesting renewable energy program just approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission will let Tucson Electric Power (TEP) customers buy into locally generated solar power without actually installing solar panels on their homes. The Bright Tucson Community Solar Program, as it is being called, will allow for these shares of solar power to be purchased for as little as $3 a month.
TEP said those involved in the solar purchasing program will be able to purchase 150 kilowatt-hour (kWh) “blocks” of solar energy at a rate that adds $3 per month to their bills by the end of the year. It is projected that six blocks would cover the annual electric use of a typical household at a premium of just $18 per month. Purchasers will be able to buy as many blocks as they want until the available solar energy is fully subscribed and the program offers protection against future energy cost increases, with the rate paid for each block remaining fixed for 20 years.
Additionally, just like for those who own solar arrays on their homes, program participants would receive credits on future bills if the energy blocks they’ve purchased exceed their electric use during a billing period. The power will be produced by local photovoltaic (PV) systems, including an array that will be built at the University of Arizona’s Science and Technology Park later this year.
“The Bright Tucson Community Solar Program will make it easy for customers to shrink their carbon footprint while helping us reduce our community’s reliance on fossil-fueled power,” said Paul Bonavia, Chairman, President and CEO of TEP and its parent company, UniSource Energy Corporation, in a statement.