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While Tucson Electric Power Co. focuses on bringing additional large utility-scale solar projects online, advocates of solar energy are decrying TEP efforts to cut significantly funding for solar-energy systems installed by local commercial customers.
Government-affairs representative for the Tucson Green Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson-based solar installation firm Technicians for Sustainability Lon Huber said TEP's plan would provide only "anemic" support for the future development of commercial solar power, even though TEP's future forecasts suggest an increase in renewable standards, The Arizona Star reported.
Abco/Westcap Solar President Charlie O'Dowd said, "When they're trying to fulfill their mandate, it doesn't seem to me it's in the interest of the whole spirit of it to put the kibosh on commercial (development)."
TEP spokesman Joe Salkowski said, "Until 2010, we were having great success with commercial systems while residential was lagging. Now residential is performing well, and we're ahead of the curve on commercial."
The Arizona Corporation Commission intends to discuss the commercial-solar issue during its regular open meeting later this week, as TEP has proposed spending $44 million in taxpayer money on solar and other renewable-energy generating projects in 2012, a increase from roughly $36 million in 20011, with next year’s fees incorporating about $5 million in funds carried over from 2010.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com