It's surprising how many people still think solar is dead in SRP, but this couldn't be further from the truth. This myth is largely propelled by smaller, relatively unsophisticated solar installers who have not yet invested in the training required to build today's more advanced solar energy systems.
It all began in 2015 when SRP rolled out the demand-based E-27 Customer Generation Plan, causing many solar companies to simply pack up and leave the territory. Solar-only installers cannot address the peak demand fees added to SRP's newer solar-compatible rate plans, as well as several from APS.
Beating demand fees requires the deployment of much more complex technologies—such as batteries and demand managers—that work in partnership with solar panels to reduce grid reliance and balance household power loads. Installing and programming these systems requires much more training, so many installers have opted to avoid the expense and instead blame SRP for "shutting down solar." So, when you hear the term "solar is dead in SRP" or something similar, think of that as shorthand for "We're not confident that we can help you, so we'll just blame the utility."
Understanding how to overcome demand fees first requires that you understand how they work. Demand fees are assessed from your largest single 30-minute (SRP) or 60-minute (APS) draw from the grid during on-peak hours every month. You’re only charged for one 30 or 60 minute draw—your highest. Solar panels do an excellent job offsetting your cumulative kWh usage every month, but they are dramatically less effective at responding to a short term burst in energy. That's where a different approach is needed. The video above does an excellent job explaining how demand fees are assessed. It also previews our unique approach to squashing them.
Batteries work but aren't for everybody
Batteries are an increasingly common way to to hedge against demand fees. But batteries can also add many thousands of dollars to a solar purchase and very few installers are authorized to install them. Still, batteries offer a long list of benefits for customers for many customers.
Demand management is the ROI king in SRP
Another approach—which is dramatically more affordable than batteries—is to deploy a highly-sophisticated hardware/software module known as a demand manager. The demand manager helps mitigate demand spikes by balancing larger power loads throughout your home and forcing them to take turns during on-peak hours. Which devices are connected is entirely up to the homeowner, and it can be updated at any time as you become more familiar with how the system works. When optimized, solar with demand management technology can be dramatically more impactful than a more expensive solar/battery combination.
As of this writing, Sun Valley Solar Solutions has installed thousands of these systems since 2016. In fact, Sun Valley Solar Solutions pioneered the approach, which has since been adopted by a number of our peers in the SRP Preferred Solar Installer network.
We invite you to watch this short technology video to learn more about solar and saving money in SRP. After that, read on to hear from customers JB and Troy about the benefits of saving with solar and demand management technology together.
See how JB has saved thousands in the first year thanks to solar with demand management technology.
“It made sense to make sure you didn’t exceed a certain demand number during the peak times and then really take advantage of the lower rate in the non-peak times,” JB said. “The comfort in the home is the same or better than it was before.”
SRP customer Troy Adams, has also been reaping the benefits of solar with a demand management technology since 2016. Read his story to find out how much he’s saved.
“In May, 2015, we purchased about 28kWh every day from SRP. In May, 2016, we generated almost all of our own power, and averaged just 1kWh per day from SRP!”
If you would like to find out if our solution will work for your home, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation. As hundreds of other customers did, you may quickly realize that with our demand management technology, solar can once again make financial sense for demand-based plans.
*This blog has been updated since it's original publication date of 7/12/2018.