THE CASE FOR MORE SOLAR POWER IN LD 18

My name is Mark Mulligan. My wife Toni Ramsey and I are both native Arizonans and have lived in Tempe/LD 18 since 2000. In 2012, I had solar panels installed on my roof because I believed it would help my pocketbook and also help the environment. In fact, the solar panels do save us about $1500/year on our electricity bill and we generate about 54% of the power we consume.


But in 2015, Salt River Project threatened to eliminate our savings with a new mandatory rate plan for existing and new customers wanting solar power. Luckily, on the last day of a 3 month long public process, the SRP Board grandfathered existing solar power customers, allowing us to keep our existing rate plans. Unfortunately, they did enact a mandatory rate plan for new solar power customers that eliminates the return on investment for the majority of new solar power installations. Installations have plummeted 80% as a result1. This translates into SRP unilaterally taking away your choice to install solar power on your home, even as prices for the technology have fallen dramatically in recent years.

I think this is wrong. I would like to see my LD 18 neighbors, and all Arizonans, have the opportunity to install rooftop solar power and generate their own electricity from our abundant sunshine. Doing so will help their own pocket books, create jobs, while also helping the environment and climate.

On a related note, it is a bit shocking to learn that contrary to SRP’s extensive green advertising touting their concern for the environment, the reality is that SRP generates a scant less than 1% of its own power from solar.

Graphic credit: Sheila Motomatsu, Dennis Burke, both candidates running for the SRP Board

It seems very misguided to ignore a free energy source-a fusion reactor in the sky (our sun)-that has plenty of fuel and requires no maintenance. We can harness this free energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with their negative and costly externalities including air pollution, greenhouse gas contributions, mining damage, and fuel transportation accidents.

Don’t get me wrong. SRP has done great things for the Valley over the last 100 years. SRP’s harnessing of the Salt River to minimize floods and provide a year-round reliable water supply enabled the valley to grow immensely in the 20th century. And SRP is a leader in providing low cost, reliable electrical power. But it is time for SRP to show energy leadership for the next 100 years. That is why I volunteered to help two clean energy minded candidates get elected to the SRP Board in 2016. And it is why I am helping five more new “clean energy” candidates running for the SRP Board, election being held April 3. The SRP election is a little known, special election. If you want to vote in SRP’s election, you must request a ballot from SRP. To request a ballot, check out the five qualified clean energy candidates, donate, or even volunteer with me, check out their website: http://srpcleanenergy.org

1) SRP Solar Installation data:
http://arizonagoessolar.org/UtilityPrograms/SaltRiverProject.aspx