Distributed Energy Resources

SRP, Tesla finalize agreement to resolve SolarCity lawsuit

Salt River Project and Tesla have finalized an agreement to resolve a 2015 lawsuit filed by SolarCity against SRP on the same terms that were recently unveiled in a memorandum of understanding, SRP said on March 21. SolarCity is a subsidiary of Tesla.

Under the agreement, SRP will purchase a 25-megawatt/100-megawatt hour battery energy storage system from Tesla, at market pricing, which will be installed at the Agua Fria Generating Station located in Glendale, Ariz.

In addition, SRP will initiate a three-year pilot program for solar and non-solar customers on a price plan, that, in specified circumstances, will limit the effect of an unusual demand spike on billing. This temporary pilot will help inform potential future modification to the design of the price plan.

The agreement also calls for SRP to initiate a Customer Storage Incentive Program, which will provide incentives to SRP’s customers towards the purchase of qualifying home energy storage systems.

Under terms of the agreement, the litigation is being dismissed with prejudice.

SRP on March 7 said that it was taking the first step toward resolving the lawsuit and detailed what the resolution was expected to include.

In the underlying lawsuit, SolarCity asserted that retail rate design changes adopted by SRP had an anticompetitive effect on SolarCity’s rooftop solar operations in Salt River’s territory and violated federal and state antitrust laws.

Salt River moved to dismiss the suit on several grounds, including that SolarCity’s antitrust claims were barred by the state action immunity doctrine, which insulates states against antitrust claims for actions taken in their sovereign capacity.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1 agreed to hear an appeal brought by SRP in the case, but with the finalization of the agreement, SRP and Tesla have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the case.