Killing zombie lies about solar

If I had a nickel for every newspaper article that cited the cost of solar at 30-50 cents/kWh, well, our fundraising worries would be solved.  It’s just very difficult to get people to understand that solar is getting cheap.

Arizona Public Service has done multiple RFPs for renewable energy in the past few years–including one earlier this year just for PV–and given their location, have solar companies passing through the office on just about every day that ends in a ‘y’.  They also just applied for and received regulatory approval to own100 MW of solar generation themselves.  In fact, their entire resource plan was written by the head of their renewable energy division–a pretty good sign that a utility is serious about the role of renewable energy in its future.  Frankly, when it comes to solar power, they are more sophisticated than the average bear.

Here’s their latest RFP, for renewable resources between 2 and 15 MW in size:

http://www.aps.com/files/_files/rfp/2010SmallGen_RFP.pdf

Check out page 9.  They will not even consider bids using PV that come in over 15 cents kWh.

As they explain:

THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROVISION IS TO LIMIT THE BIDS THAT WILL BE  FULLY EVALUATED TO THOSE THAT ARE THE MOST COST COMPETITIVE AND TO LIMIT UNCOMPETITIVE RESPONDENT’S EXPOSURE TO THE BIDDER’S FEE AND THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH DEVELOPING A BID RESPONSE. APS DOES NOT EXPECT TO TRANSACT AT THE MAXIMUM BID PRICES CONTAINED IN THIS PROVISION.  BASED ON PREVIOUS SOLICITATION EXPERIENCE, APS WOULD ANTICIPATE EXECUTING AGREEMENTS FOR PHOTOVOLTAIC RESOURCES SIGNIFICANTLY BELOW THE MAXIMUM BID PRICE.

Solar’s getting cheap.