- Arizona has the highest levels of direct sunlight per day in the country which makes it an ideal place for residential solar
- With net metering and state incentives available for solar panels, many households in Arizona are turning to solar to power their homes
- Compare the prices of solar installers in Arizona by completing the form above or see our solar guide to Arizona below
Overview of Solar Systems in Arizona
When you think of Arizona, you’re likely to think of sun. The climate has made the state a popular destination for retirees. It has also, unsurprisingly, led to the state being highly favorable for solar power.
Former governor Janet Napolitano once stated that Arizona could easily become “the Persian Gulf of solar energy.” On the evidence — specifically, Arizona’s insolation, or hours of direct sunlight per day, which is the highest in the country — the state certainly has that potential.
The Arizona Corporation Commission’s Renewable Portfolio Standard sets a 15% renewable energy goal for 2025, and thus far they appear to be on target. The state’s solar generating capacity is currently well over 1,000 megawatts. Projects on the drawing board, awaiting approval, and already under construction could well boost that total over 13 gigawatts. But it isn’t only utilities that are on board. Smaller-scale solar installations owned by businesses and homeowners dot the state, further boosting solar generation totals and helping many of the state’s residents toward energy independence and significant savings on their utility bills.
Regulations and Solar Rebates in Arizona
The regulatory picture when it comes to solar power can be confusing to an outside observer. On one hand, the state’s energy goals have put it — and residential solar customers — directly at odds with public utilities. The latter have been known to substantially increase rates on customers who use solar power by means of rate surcharges, grid access fees, and miserly rates paid to customers selling their surplus energy back to power companies.
On the other hand, Arizona has been at the forefront of consumer protections for solar. One rule mandates that solar companies must disclose the lifetime cost of ownership for a photovoltaic (PV) system before the contract is signed. The Arizona Solar Power Society maintains the Arizona Solar Business Directory, which helps customers track down the best deals and installers. And the Arizona Registrar of Contractors maintains the Arizona Solar Watchdog Program, a database of solar contractors’ work history, credentials, and licensure.
In terms of incentives, Arizona offers net metering capped at 125% of yearly use. The state also offers sales, use and property tax exemptions and state income tax credits on purchased solar equipment.
Several cities offer financial incentives for solar energy and green building, and the state offers a Residential Energy Efficient Rebate Program to facilitate the expansion of solar. These programs exist alongside a system of Federal incentives, about which you can learn more here.
Solar Panel Companies in Arizona
National Installers Operating in Arizona
SolarCity operates nine locations nationwide, and draws on years of experience performing installations across the United States as well as extensive knowledge of local laws, incentives, and regulations in Arizona. The company augments its service with the MySolarCity app, which allows customers to track their energy usage and adjust as needed, in order to get the most out of their PV systems.
Vivint is more than a solar company, having invested heavily in smart home technology. However, the company’s embrace of solar proves that sustainable solar energy makes a smart home that much smarter. Vivint’s installers are trained and certified, and products and installations alike are backed with excellent customer service.
SunRun offers both purchase and lease options, and boasts savings of over seven million dollars for its solar customers. The company knows, and helps its customers navigate, the complicated regulatory landscape. It also monitors customers’ PV systems, enabling them to catch problems before customers may even be aware of them, and backs their products to the hilt.
Local Installers Operating in Arizona
Founded in 2001, American Solar and Roofing bill themselves as Arizona’s number one solar installer for the last four years running. They have an A+ BBB rating, and have the kind of state and local regulatory knowledge that’s all too often missing from national companies.
Sun Valley Solar Solutions has been in business for nearly a decade, and in that time the company has notched millions of kilowatt hours’ worth of solar installed for customers in the counties of Maricopa, Navajo, Coconino Yavapai, Pinal, Cochise, and Pima. The company is the fifteenth largest solar installer nationwide, which is impressive given that its competition numbers several companies with a presence nationwide.
Arizona is, in some ways, an outlier in terms of solar. Natural conditions there are ideal; there’s certainly no shortage of sunlight. On the other hand, the solar industry has been slower to catch on than in neighboring California, due in part to the state’s prices for electric from natural gas-fired plants is very — some would say artificially — low, partly because the state has only recently begun to catch up to its neighbors’ regulatory efforts, and partly due to outright hostility on the part of the state’s major utility companies. However, if you’re considering a PV system in Arizona, the opportunities and benefits are still plentiful.