Supreme Court to hear arguments in solar power dispute

Supreme Court to hear arguments in solar power dispute
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The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a legal fight between an Arizona utility and a rooftop solar company.

Justices will examine whether state-regulated agencies can be subject to antitrust lawsuits like the one brought by SolarCity against the Salt River Project.

The utility has argued that it’s not subject to antitrust lawsuits because it’s a state-regulated agency. But the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in June rejected that argument and ruled SolarCity’s suit against the entity can move forward.

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Salt River Project appealed that decision to the Supreme Court in September. The Court announced Friday it will hear the appeal.

SolarCity’s underlying lawsuit — which the court is not considering right now — deals with an electricity pricing system established by Salt River Project, which provides electricity in and around Phoenix.

SolarCity, a subsidiary of Tesla, has sued Salt River Project over the utility’s 2015 decision to charge a fee for solar power systems operated by individuals, many of which are provided by SolarCity.

The company argues the fees are designed to make rooftop solar too expensive to be competitive.

Salt River Project has said the fees are necessary because customers with rooftop solar installations pay less to the utility for power generation, driving down funding for the network.