Arizona Regulator to Allow Utilities to Charge More for Solar

STARNBERG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 15: Workers prepare the roof of a house to get installed solar power modules for producing heat on October 15, 2011 in Wessling, Germany. Germany has and is continuing to invest heavily in solar energy, both in the public and private sectors. The German government introduced a feed-in tariff with its Renewable Energy Act in 2000 that guarantees homeowners a minimum rate for selling electricity from renewable energy sources into the nation's electricity grid.  (National Journal)

State regulators in Arizona have moved to require solar customers to pay a monthly fee to utilities companies for use of the electric grid, Bloomberg reports.

The decision came Thursday with a vote by the Arizona Corporation Commission, the state's public-utilities regulator, to allow Arizona's largest utility provider,the Arizona Public Service Company to levy a fee on solar customers of a little less than $5 a month. The charge will only apply to new solar customers.

The ruling is a major win for utilities that have long been clamoring for solar users to pay extra, claiming they don't pay for their fair share of costs to maintain the electric grid.

Solar advocates disagree, saying that calls by utility companies for solar customers to pay additional fees are an attempt to stamp out the budding U.S. solar industry.