Supreme Court postpones arguments solar antitrust case

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Supreme Court is postponing arguments in an antitrust lawsuit brought by a Tesla company against an Arizona utility over solar installation fees.

Justices on Friday pushed back March 19 oral arguments to their April sitting. A new date has not yet been set.

The move comes after Tesla Energy Operations Inc. and the Phoenix-based Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District last week announced they had reached a memorandum of understanding that they expect will form the basis of a settlement agreement.

Under the agreement, SRP would purchase a battery storage system from Tesla and give customers incentives for home energy storage systems (Greenwire, March 8).

“Although the parties do not know at this juncture if a settlement will occur or, if it does, precisely when, they are endeavoring in good faith to reach a settlement promptly,” the companies wrote in a March 8 letter to the Supreme Court.

Tesla Energy Operations, which was formerly known as SolarCity, filed suit against SRP in 2015, alleging that solar installation fees imposed by the utility hurt it and its customers, lowering demand for panels. SRP has argued that, as a local government entity, it should have been immune from the antitrust suit.

The Supreme Court in December agreed to decide whether SRP could immediately appeal a lower court’s decision to reject its motion to dismiss the case.