Category Archives for "Arizona"

What are the Top Solar Companies in Arizona?

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Top 10 solar companies in Arizona

With a state average of 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, the number of  solar installations in Arizona are growing so quickly that APS (the state’s largest utility) has been struggling to keep up with all the approvals homeowners submit to connect their panels to the grid. And there are now dozens of solar companies popping up in the state, each looking to serve the rapidly expanding solar market. Of course, not all are up to the task of being one of the top solar companies in Arizona.

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The Complete Guide to Flagstaff Solar

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Information about Solar Panels in Flagstaff, Arizona

If you’re considering going solar and you live in or around Flagstaff, Arizona, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you are wondering about your local utility’s policy, installation costs, or financing, keep reading. We have the answers to all Flagstaff solar installations below!

This post has been developed especially about solar in Flagstaff, AZ, for residents that are served by the electric utility Arizona Public Service (APS). If that doesn’t apply to you, you can still check out the Arizona solar energy state page to learn more about solar in your state.

If you’re looking for a simple yes or no as to whether you should install solar in the Flagstaff area, the answer is definitely ‘yes’, similar to the rest of the state. The sunny weather, cost of electricity, and relatively solar-friendly policies make it no surprise that Arizona has the third-highest installed solar capacity of any state in the US. Read on to find out more!

#1 Overall Solar Grade

B
Overall Grade
9 years Avg. Payback Time (For Cash Purchase)
10.5 % Estimate IRR (Return on your investment on cash purchase over 25 years)
$28,574 Your Net Profit Over 25 Years (Cash Purchase)

* Note that these are estimated values for informational purposes only, and do not take into account the full complexity of all financial projections. They also only apply to cash purchases, which means your numbers will be different if you lease your system or pay for it with a loan (factoring in interest). Also note that we are not financial advisors, so this information should not be construed as financial advice.

#2 Options for Buying Solar Panels in Flagstaff, Arizona

Residents of Flagstaff have various options for paying for their solar installation. We look at the three available options: cash, leases, and loans.

Cash Upfront

The simplest option to purchase solar panels in Flagstaff, AZ, is with cash upfront. While this isn’t possible for all homeowners, it will allow you to utilize all tax exemptions and credits, and it offers the largest return on your investment over time. Let’s explore how much this option might cost you, and the benefits you’d see over the lifetime of the system.

Most average rooftop solar systems run about 5 kilowatts (kW) in size. At a state average installation cost of $3.26 per watt, a system of this size in Arizona will cost about $16,283 to purchase and install. If that sounds like too much money, just wait!

Factoring in the 30% Federal tax credit, you can subtract $4,885 from that total and you can also receive a $1,000 tax credit from the state. Unfortunately, you won’t find incentives provided by APS or the local Flagstaff government for solar panels like you might in some other regions (though they do have incentives for solar water heaters and other energy efficiency initiatives).

So with the tax credits factored in, the total cash upfront cost looks more like $10,398.

How long will it take for this expense to pay off? If you pay upfront, 5kW of solar panels should pay for themselves after 10 years or so. Once they pay themselves off, all of your electricity savings can be considered profit – and you could see as much as $28,574 in total income over the life of the system!

Bottom Line: Your return on the investment will come out to about 10.5%, which beats most stock market choices we make. Sounds like a good deal to us.

Leases

An alternate option to paying cash is to enter a contract to lease the panels from a solar installation company. The company will install the panels on your roof and the panels will have the same effects on your electric bill as a cash-purchased solar system, but you won’t own them outright.

This is very similar to the idea of leasing a car, where you will pay a set monthly amount for a period of years, and either purchase the system outright at the end of the lease, continue the lease on a year-by-year basis, or get rid of (uninstall) the system. If you’re worried you’ll have to move before the end of your lease, it is possible to transfer it to new homeowners, but you need to arrange the transfer with the installing company and the buyers beforehand.

Leases cost less out of pocket in the beginning, but don’t provide you with a lot of the same long-term financial rewards as a cash or loan purchase. If the terms of your lease are financed properly, you should save more money on your electric bill each month than you pay toward the lease, which would net you a small monthly profit. The amount you save on your electric bill should grow over time too, as utility rates go up but your lease rate is locked in.

If you’re interested in learning more about solar leases, APS has information and advice for homeowners under their service.

Bottom Line: A worthwhile option if you cannot afford cash upfront, a solar lease will save you money on your bill, and this saving will grow over time as utility rates increases.

More: Solar Leases

Loans

If you don’t have enough cash on hand to purchase upfront, but don’t like the idea of a lease, the third option – taking out a loan for solar – may be the right one for you! Using a loan to purchase a solar system will still allow you to take advantage of tax credits and tax exemptions, while not requiring you to pull too much money out of your bank account at once.

How would the finances of a solar loan compare to the finances of a cash purchase? What would this actually look like for your bank account? Let’s revisit the sample purchase from the ‘cash’ section, where a 5kW system would run you $16,283. If you take out a loan for that much money at 5% interest on a 15-year term (you can calculate some different terms and interest rates too, if you want), in the first year of owning the system:

  • You will get $4,884 back for your federal 30% tax credit.
  • You will get $1,000 back for your state tax credit.
  • You will save about $1,011 on utilities ($84 a month!) your first year (and over $2,000 annually by 22nd year!)
  • You will spend $129 per month paying your loan.

As utility rates go up each year, your savings also increase and at the end of 25 years, you’ll see a net profit of $21,679.

Bottom Line: The return on your investment won’t be quite as large as it would be in a cash upfront scenario, but you are still looking at a very healthy long-term investment!

More: Solar Loans

#3 Flagstaff Solar Policy Information

While you might hear a lot about the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency when it comes to energy and utilities, the reality is most of the policy is driven by the states. And Arizona has adopted some great solar policies.

downtown-flagstaff

Different states have different climates (weather and politics), energy prices, and varying levels of solar feasibility, so Arizona designed its state policy around these realities. The state government develops rules around interconnection, the quantity of energy that utilities must get from renewable sources, and how households can send energy back to the grid.

You’ll read about several policies created in the past decade, but very recently, state policy has taken a turn. The state has been in conflict with utilities – yes, that includes APS – and recently compromised to allow for new increases in electricity rates (you can read more information from Greentech Media and Utility Dive, if you’re interested). This is something you’ll need to keep an eye out for in the coming months and years, but read on for an assessment of current policy!

Renewable Portfolio Standard

One way that states encourage utilities (and businesses and residents!) to utilize renewable energy sources is with a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). This document, common across the country, mandates the amount of energy produced in the state that has to come from sources like wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectricity, or other renewable forms of energy.

The Arizona RPS breaks down renewable energy requirements like this (with a target date of 2025): 15% of the state’s total energy must be renewable, 30% of THAT should come from ‘distributed’ sources like homes or businesses, and half of THAT should come from residential energy sources (like solar on your roof!). That essentially means that Arizona is looking to get at least 2.25% of its electricity from residential solar or wind.

More: Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

Electricity Prices

Let’s not kid around – electricity prices are a major reason many people start thinking about solar, especially as those costs get higher and higher. Having solar at home helps you avoid those costs, which will only increase as time goes on! As we mentioned, you can expect rates to rise at a rate of about 3% per year.

The average price per kilowatt hour (kWh) (if you’re wondering what the difference between kW and kWh is, check out this explanation) through APS in Flagstaff is about 11.96 cents. At that price, according to the National Renewable Energy Lab’s online solar calculator, a 5 kW solar system would save you $1,015 on your electric bill in its first year!

Net Metering

One of the most complicated and least understood parts of solar policy is ‘net metering’. This term comes from the way that electricity feeds in and out of your home to the grid – it flows into your home from the grid when you need it, and excess flows out of your home to the grid if your panels are producing more energy than you need to use! With solar, you’ll typically export energy during the day when it is sunny, and use energy in the evening or at night when your panels aren’t producing any.

What net metering policy usually governs is how much money (if any) the utility will pay you for the electricity that you produce and export from your home. Arizona drafted their policy in 2009, and it required companies like APS to pay you the ‘retail rate’ for that energy, which was pretty simple: if you paid 10 cents per kWh for electricity, you would also GET paid 10 cents per kWh for electricity you sold back. This money is seen annually on your final yearly bill.

But, like other renewable energy laws in the state, this policy also came under fire from utility companies and recently resulted in a vote to end the current net metering pricing. Utilities are moving to replace the retail rate with a new ‘Resource Comparison Proxy’ price, which will be lower than the retail rate. As of March 2017, we still don’t know what those rates will be, so keep an eye out! The initial new price should be guaranteed to you for the first 10 years after you install solar panels, so we can make new calculations soon.

Regardless of these changes, solar will still be a good call in Arizona, but some calculations will change, like the number of years it takes to fully pay off the panels.

More: Net Metering

Interconnection Rules

Using rooftop solar doesn’t mean ‘going off the grid’ – in many places you legally must connect your system to the utility grid to comply with law. Plus, you can’t take advantage of net metering if you aren’t hooked up!

Interconnection in Arizona is not officially set by the state, but by utilities. The state created a guidance document, but APS sets the rules, which can be read on their website. Your installer should be familiar with these rules, but make sure to do a bit of research and talk to your installer about interconnection rules before starting your project.

#4 Financial Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits for Going Solar

While some utilities in Arizona and across the country offer incentives or rebates for solar systems, APS no longer does. The City of Flagstaff does have some energy efficiency rebates, but none are solar-related. However, there are still great incentives at the national and state level that will decrease the upfront cost of solar panels on your roof.

Federal Tax Credit

Your federal tax credit for residential solar will net you a credit for 30% of the money you spent to buy and install a system at your home (remember that upfront cost of about $16K? You can subtract almost $5K from that!). This was passed in 2008, but the amount is set to start phasing down in 2019, so you should make sure to use it while it is still this great of a deal!

This credit, and the state credit mentioned below, are not tax write-offs or exemptions, they are a cash credit you’ll get when you file your taxes. This is a straightforward way for the federal government to incentivize you to go solar, but it can only be used if you purchase the system with cash upfront or via a loan.

More: Solar Federal Tax Credit

State Tax Credit

Arizona has a similarly structured credit specifically for solar, that runs to the tune of a 25% credit on the cost of installations on your state income taxes. This credit is available to any household that installs solar, and maxes out at $1,000. So when you add this credit to the amount you get back from the federal government, it makes the upfront cost a lot less intimidating.

Property Tax Exemption

Are you worried that installing solar panels will make you subject to higher property taxes when your house is appraised? Arizona took care of that with their Energy Equipment Property Tax Exemption, which states that renewable energy equipment (your solar panels!) is not factored into home appraisals when calculating property tax.

So, when it comes to taxation, you get a pretty good deal when you install solar!

General Increase in Home Value

Despite not being factored into appraisals, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar installations increase home value in the states they studied, including Oregon, California, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Maryland (they didn’t look at Arizona unfortunately, though chances are the results would be very similar). If you take your house with solar and an identical house without solar, your house should have an approximately $4 per watt advantage (since we’ve been talking in kW, that is $4K per kW).

So using 5 kW as an average example, installing solar panels can help you sell your home for $20,000 more than you would otherwise!

When you look at all of the financial factors, you can drop your total cost to go solar through awesome rebates, save incremental amounts of money every month through lower electricity bills, and make a lot of money on the other end when selling your home.

More: Buyers Will Pay More for Solar Homes

If you’d like to dig even more on local incentives and rebates, check out the DSIRE database.

What to Do Next?

Now that you’ve learned all about solar in Flagstaff, AZ, you should start looking around and contacting installers! We recommend always talking to multiple installers to make sure you get a good understanding of all of your options. You can also get more information from APS, and check out any installers that they recommend.

Let us know if you have any more questions, and come back and let us know if this information helps you to go solar in Flagstaff, AZ!

Image Credits from Flickr under CC License - 1, 2

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The Complete Guide to Solar Panels Yuma AZ

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Information about Solar Panels in Yuma Arizona

If you’re thinking about installing solar panels in Yuma, Arizona and wondering where to start, look no further!

This city page is specifically about Solar Panels Yuma, AZ. For more general state information, see our Arizona solar energy state page, or search for other city pages that may be near you.

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Solar in Phoenix, AZ

solar-phoenix

To give you a running start with Phoenix solar, we've compiled this handy guide.

Going solar in Phoenix is a great choice, as there are a lot of solid incentives for those of you looking to jump into the solar market. A state that offers favorable rebates, state tax policies, and a utility company that offers incentives to their customers, combine into worthwhile savings for anyone paying cash or taking out a loan for their solar panel system.

For a broader overview see our Arizona Solar page.​

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Buying Solar Panels in Tuscon, AZ

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Information about Solar Panels in Tucson

Tuscon, AZ has a lot of very solid incentives for its residents to go solar. Between their state energy policies and preferential tax treatment, you will find a lot of ways to save money no matter how you go about installing your new solar panel system. Read on to find out why Arizona is one of the fastest growing hotspots for solar in the US!

For a broader state overview, see our Arizona Solar Energy page.

#1 Overall Solar Grade: Tucson, Arizona

B+
Overall Grade
10 years Avg. Payback Time (For Cash Purchase)
10.21 % Estimate IRR (Return on your investment on cash purchase over 25 years)
$27,791 Your Net Profit Over 25 Years (Cash Purchase)

* Note that these are estimated values for informational purposes only, and do not take into account the full complexity of all financial projections. They also only apply to cash purchases, which means your numbers will be different if you lease your system or pay for it with a loan (factoring in interest). Also note that we are not financial advisors, so this information should not be construed as financial advice.

#2 Options for Buying Solar Panels in Tucson

In Tuscon, you’ll have access to all three major methods of purchasing solar power:  cash, purchase power agreement, and loans. Which method works best for you depends on your individual circumstances, but we’ll take a look at all three to highlight the pros and cons to each route you could take. All three options offer some type of financial benefit, but these benefits will be higher or lower depending on your selection.

Cash upfront

There are always clear benefits to paying for something up front and having cash in this situation it offers great results.  

In the purest sense, paying cash for means you’ll avoid any type of interest-bearing loan and there will be no strings attached once you’ve made the payment. You could sell your house the next week and wouldn’t have to worry about transferring a loan or lease to the new homeowner. It could also allow you for more wiggle room when you are hammering out the details with your installer.

Writing a check for $16k out of your pocket to pay for a solar system outright might sound a little scary, but let’s look at the math and see how it plays out.

  • If you use cash, you’ll spend about $16,283 up front to pay for your solar system during the first year of ownership. This is a huge upfront cost, but let’s see what happens next.  
  • When filing your federal income taxes for the year you’ve purchased your system, you’ll be able to take advantage of the amazing 30% federal renewable tax credit for $4,885. 
  • The state of AZ has an awesome tax credit of 25% up to $1,000.
  • You will be saving about $1,003 during your first 12 months electricity bill costs.
  • That takes your upfront costs down to about $9,395 that first year, big savings.

Your solar system will generate about the same amount of energy year after year in its lifetime, but the cost of generating this energy will stay mostly the same (just maintenance costs).

The energy from your local utility provider, as we’ll discuss below, will normally increase by around 3% per year on average. TEP, Tuscon’s electric company, has proposed rate increases of about 9% next year for the average homeowner. With solar, you will only be saving more and more money when your energy company raises their rates!

- Bottom Line

Looking at the cash method summary, your system will generate about $27,929 in savings over its lifetime and pay for itself after about 10 years of operation.  rom that point, you’ll be making money each and every year!  From an investment perspective, you’ll be earning something like 10%+ over the lifetime of your system, which is not too shabby.

Leases

For those of you that do not have access to a lot of cash, don’t want to obtain a loan to purchase a system, or for whatever other reason do not wish to actually own your solar panel system leasing is an option that can provide the least amount of hassle on your journey towards solar. When you lease a solar system, someone else (usually your installer or utility company) will actually own all of the equipment installed on your home. They will install it, monitor it, service it, and replace any parts that fail due to normal wear and tear.

Because you won’t be responsible for the system after it’s installed, leasing can be the least stressful option to go solar. But because someone else owns the equipment, you won’t get the full financial benefits of going solar such as the tax credits and rebates.

In Tuscon, the local utility company, Tuscon Electric Power, actually has its very own residential solar leasing program. Under their terms, you will pay a small fee to have your system installed and then you will pay a fixed cost on the system over the duration of your lease based on your previous 12 months of usage.

- Bottom Line

This will allow you to get the non-financial benefits of solar (environmental protection, peace of mind) while still mostly breaking even on your energy costs. We’ve seen that the typical monthly electricity payment in Tuscon, AZ is about $131 per month so we can assume that this would be the average cost of a solar lease. The one financial benefit is that your lease price is locked in so as utility prices increase over time you will still keep your monthly bill about the same!

More: Solar Leases

Loan

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Taking out a loan to pay for your solar system has a clear benefit:  you won’t have to pay a large sum of money upfront. In this scenario, we’ll consider that you are borrowing money from a bank (or equity in your home in the case of an HELOC) to pay for the system, but you still get all of the tax benefits associated with solar. It’s a little counter-intuitive to think that financing a purchase like this will make you money over the long term, but because the potential for energy savings with solar increases over time there is a substantial financial opportunity.

Let’s use the $16,283 system cost from our earlier cash example. Let’s also assume for our math that we’re getting a 4.5% interest rate on our loan and it’s over 15 years. But remember how I said that you will still get the tax benefits when you take out a loan?

  • After the first year, you’ll get back $4,885  from your federal taxes and $1000 for you state taxes
  • The issue with taking out a loan is that you will have to service this loan and its interest each month. Because of this bill, you’ll probably spend about $129 a month on your loan payment. This is $1,500 per year.  
  • Your savings for the first year will only be about $1,003, leaving you with about a $41 per month cost for your solar energy over the first year. Don’t forget that your electricity bills will tend to increase over time and you will end up paying relatively smaller amounts for your energy. 

- Bottom Line

Looking at it from this angle, you’ll pay about $6,138 in interest on the loan, and bank about $21,719 in savings with this system over the 25-year lifetime, simply by installing it and paying for the loan. It’s almost like printing money.

More: Solar Loans

#3 Solar Policy Information

A bit of good news for anyone living in Arizona is that their state government is relatively enthusiastic about endorsing solar energy production in the state. The bad news is that the utility companies in the state are actively fighting against the friendly solar policies now in place. These utilities, including the Tuscon Electric Power company, are attempting to make going solar less attractive to citizens by lowering the amount of money paid for excess electricity fed back into the grid and increasing minimum charges on power bills.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

A state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) can be defined as the policy that outlines exactly how much production energy the government wants utilities to generate from renewable sources by a certain date. Basically, this is a way for the state government to set out a goal for renewable energy and force their utility companies, who might not otherwise be incentivized, to start investing in renewable sources. For anyone interested in going solar in Arizona, it’s great news for your that your state has an RPS because it means that the government is enthusiastic about solar power generation.

Arizona’s RPS was passed in 2006 and outlines a plan for the state to generate 15% of their total energy production from renewable sources by the year 2025, with 30% of that coming from distributed energy technologies (basically on-site energy production like a home solar unit). Of that 30% mandate, half should come from residential sources alone!  This isn’t the most ambitious policy, but it is definitely a step in the right direction and a firm foundation for the future. We would love to see them update their plan with more ambitious goals, a longer timeline, or a greater requirement for residential solar.

We would love to see them update their plan with more ambitious goals, a longer timeline, or a greater requirement for residential solar.

Electricity Prices

The price you pay for your electricity matters a lot when discussing solar power because this is the cost that you will be offsetting by installing a solar panel system. On average, citizens of Arizona pay about 12.7 cents for each kilowatt-hour on their electric bill, while those living in Tuscon should be paying closer to 11.5 cents depending on their usage levels. The US average, meanwhile, is about 12 cents. This means that you are usually paying a smaller amount than the rest of America for your electricity.

It also means that you will be saving an average of $1,114 per year on your electricity bill in Arizona with a 5-kilowatt system.

It is also important to remember that utilities tend to increase their prices by about 3% per year nationally, but some areas can see increases of much, much more. The good news for you is that the electricity you are producing with your home system won’t cost any more to you as time passes, but you’ll be able to increase your utility savings every year during the life of the system.

Net Metering

As an owner of a solar panel system, you are basically the owner of your very own power plant. What this means is that your home will obtain its energy from your solar system first and then draw any extra power required from your normal utility company. If you have a powerful system or you are very frugal with your energy use then you might actually be generating more kilowatt-hours than you are using.

In this scenario, net metering is extremely beneficial to you because it will allow any excess power to be given back to your cities electrical grid. It also creates a system in which you can be paid for the excess electricity you generate. Because solar panels generate most of their energy during the daytime, it is essential that you are able to use this system of give-and-take in order to keep your home reliably powered.

In Arizona’s state net metering policies, you’ll see no limit to the amount of people that can plug into the system and they will actually pay you for any excess energy that you deliver to the grid. Of course, there are a few odd exceptions, but generally, the utility company will pay you the retail rate (what you would normally pay them) for any power you generate. Excess energy will be credited throughout the year and any remaining credits will be paid on your last monthly bill of the year as an avoided cost payment.

For anyone in Tuscon, please keep an eye on your local battle over net metering and be sure to submit your opinion to any local politicians that can help keep net metering safe!

More: Net Metering

Interconnection Rules

These rules determine how exactly someone can connect their solar panel system to their local electrical grid. There are a lot of technical details in these rules that may or may not apply to you, but we’ll go over a couple of the most important aspects.

Unfortunately, Arizona does not yet have an officially supported and mandated interconnection policy at the moment. They instead have drafted some proposed rules and have asked state utilities to follow their interconnection document as a guideline for their policies. In practice, most of the utilities have adopted similar rules based on this outline.

Tuscon Electric Power (TEP) established its own interconnection rules that go over the specifics of their service area. Generally, the customer must submit an application showing that their system conforms to electrical code, adheres to their local specifications, and includes a disconnect switch. Be sure to discuss these details with your installer and be sure that you are confident that you are conforming to any requirements that your local utility mandates!

#4 Financial Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits 

When solar first arrived in many states and governments were starting to endorse solar energy production by mandating RPS policies a lot of different rebates started popping up from local utilities trying to ensure that they met their quota.  Arizona’s utilities were no different, but as time passed and quotas started to be filled, these rebate programs started to dry up a bit.

Rebates and Other Incentives

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In Tuscon, you are likely serviced by Tuscon Electric Power for your electricity needs and while their TEP Residential Solar Program started in 2015 was created to help provide leasing options for its citizens, the program is currently not accepting any new participants in for foreseeable future.

In Arizona, there are only a few utilities left that are offering any kind of rebate and most are located in rural areas. Here are some of the most significant ones listed below just in case you are planning on making a move in the future.

Tuscon, AZ Tax Credits

Tax credits in Tuscon are a solid offering. Overall it rates very highly in terms of tax implications for a new solar system. Let’s take a look at how you can save money on your taxes and more easily afford to purchase a system that provides clean, renewable energy for decades!

Arizona State Tax Credit

Although there are no state or local rebates in Tuscon, the state itself provides an awesome credit for would-be solar buyers. This credit will be equal to 25% of the cost of any solar device purchased, up to a maximum of $1000 for each residence. You can reach this maximum through multiple installations or all at once on a big solar panel system, but you can never exceed the lifetime maximum. You can also carry this credit forward for up to five years if you owe less than the credit amount.

This is nice icing on the federal tax credit cake that we’ll check out below!

Available Federal Tax Credit

As per usual, anyone that takes the jump into solar will enjoy the residential renewable tax credit. This amazing subsidy by the US government will allow for a 30 percent federal tax credit for any costs relating to the purchase and installation of a new solar system for your home. This allows you to shave 30 percent right off the top of your purchase price if you are paying cash or taking out a loan for your system. Remember that if you lease your system you will not get this credit. It will instead go to the owner of the panels that you are leasing from!

Tax credits are not deductions, but rather a dollar-for-dollar credit that is reimbursed to you for your purchase. This is truly an awesome opportunity that you should take advantage of before it starts to decrease after 2019!

Property Tax Exemption

Here is another area that Arizona rates very highly. According to their Energy Equipment Property Tax Exemption policy, citizens are exempted from paying property taxes on any equipment that provides energy to the home through renewable means.  This can include solar panels, but also things like geothermal electric, solar pool heating, hydroelectric, and even anaerobic digestion!

You will receive a 100% exemption if you make a purchase in any of the eligible categories. Remember though, that even though these devices are considered to add no value to the property for tax purposes, it will definitely still add value to your home for the purposes of selling it!

Sales Tax Exemption

According to Arizona’s Solar and Wind Equipment Sales Tax Exemption, you will currently pay NO sales tax on any eligible equipment related to solar energy. This is an excellent benefit because sales tax on a $15,000 system would be $1,215 under Tuscon, AZ’s current tax rate of 8.1%. This is a pretty sizable discount!

General Increase in Home Value

We discussed earlier that your property taxes will not increase due to the installation of your solar system because it does not count as added home value, but a good solar panel installation has been shown to demand a $4 per watt price premium over similar homes!  Looking at the numbers, that means a 5-kilowatt solar system could be adding as much as $20,000 to the value of your home while paying no additional taxes on your property. This makes for a sound financial investment for those of you living in Tuscon. Assuming you pay cash for your system, you could come out way ahead if you sell your home just for the increase in value alone.

Assuming you pay cash for your system, you could come out way ahead if you sell your home just for the increase in value alone. This type of return lumps solar into the category of any other home improvement that can increase the value of your home such as bathroom renovations or additions.

What to do next?

For those of you in Tuscon looking to go all-in with solar, I think that the numbers presented in this article make a compelling argument for you to take the plunge. Depending on your current financial state, you stand to come out way ahead in a short amount of time from a home value perspective. Factoring in the lower energy bills and peace of mind that comes from doing your part to help the planet and ensure a safe future for your children, it’s an easy decision.

Arizona currently ranks 5th in solar capacity in the US and it shows no signs of slowing down. As solar prices continue to drop and more people learn about the benefits of installing a solar panel system on their home, the solar environment just gets better and better!

As always, we highly recommend that you reach out to a local installer to give you an actual solar quote for your unique situation. All of our information here are estimates based on state averages.

Photo Credits: CC License via Flickr – 1, 2 

Who’s the Real Enemy When It Comes to Solar?

Plenty of people know that solar power is a great alternative to traditional energy sources.

It’s contributing to job growth and increases homeowner values. Plus, Americans want solar power! But despite this, utilities, advocates, lawmakers, and solar energy companies go round and round blaming each other, while the person who just wants to install rooftop solar suffers (see Hawaii as a prime example).

Who’s actually the enemy when it comes to solar?

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SolarCity vs Arizona Utilities: The War Wages On

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In Arizona, solar is heating up — but not in the way you’d think. According to ThinkProgress, solar users in Arizona will be subjected to a new, additional “demand charge” of about $50 per month starting in April.

The New Arizona Solar Fee

This new charge will be based on user’s peak energy use, and all solar users have to pay it, regardless of the amount of solar energy they produce. This means that even if a home with residential solar panels produced enough energy to offset the amount of energy they would otherwise take from the grid, they still have to pay the utility fee.

The reason for the charge is simple. Public power utilities, like Salt River Project, want to charge for renewable energy fees in order to offset the costs for maintaining solar grid infrastructure. They believe since solar customers use the grid differently, it’s necessary to shift grid maintenance costs to customers who are using solar.

Related: Solar Panels in Arizona

“To retain the level of service our customers have come to expect from SRP, we must continue to invest in modernizing our energy grid to adapt to new technologies and that will improve reliability and allow for more customer choice,” said Chief Financial Executive Aidan McSheffrey.Continue reading

Significant Solar Job Growth in Conservative States

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The solar industry is booming, with over 173,000 solar jobs in the U.S. And more states than ever are leading the way, with unexpected states like Georgia trumping solar production over more solar traditional states. However, the most surprising news may be that solar is taking off in politically conservative states that a decade ago may have never been seen as energy efficient leaders.Continue reading