New American Funding Blog

The power of solar in Phoenix

By Courtney Lynch   |  December 7, 2015

Installing solar panels could save many Phoenix homeowners money and benefit the environment.The Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center released a report that explained the state of Arizona could produce more than 320 times the amount of energy it consumes in a year, solely through the use of concentrating solar power and solar photovoltaic panels. The report suggested the state set a goal of producing 25 percent of its energy from solar sources. Its current goal is to have 15 percent of its energy come from renewable sources by the year 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Many Arizona homeowners are doing their part to contribute to this goal. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Arizona had the fifth-most solar capacity installed in the U.S. in 2014. It has a capacity of 2,143 megawatts, enough to power 304,000 homes.

Benefits and things to consider

Saving the environment is a big incentive for many people to install solar panels on their home. However, there are many other benefits as well. A report from SEIA stated ratepayers of Arizona Public Service will save at least $34 million collectively, through lowered reliance on traditional power plants, less need for transmission and distribution systems and power lines, and fewer costs for not meeting renewable energy requirements.

Not only does more solar benefit APS customers generally, but homeowners will directly benefit from it as well. According to Solar Nation, there are many incentive programs Arizona residents can take advantage of. Phoenix has many available options, such as tax credits and exemptions. With more than 300 days of sunshine, the city is a particularly good place to generate electricity at home.

However, before homeowners decide to install solar in their own home, there are several things they should take into consideration. For instance, Complete Solar advised those considering solar to decide what type of solar panel is best for their home. Solar Nation reported about 400 solar companies in Arizona, so residents have many options to choose from. Different types of roofs and locations will varying requirements for an installation to be worthwhile. Homeowners should speak with different companies to learn about which solar panel is right for them. They should also ask if the company has had experience with the roof style as well. A company whose employees have only worked with metal roofs may not know the best way to install solar panels on a roof of Spanish tile.

Direction of the home's roof is also a factor to consider. According to Cost of Solar, south-facing roofs in the northern hemisphere generally get the best light, though west- and east-facing roofs will get their fair share of light, depending on the time of day. Many believe the best angle to install solar panels should be that of the latitude the house is located at to get the most from the sun's angle compared to the earth. This would mean panels in Phoenix should be installed at about 33 degrees, according to World Atlas. However, Cost of Solar explained this may not always be worth the effort or money.

Homeowners should also take cost into consideration. Solar Nation explained the average 5-kilowatt system most homes use costs between $16,000 and $18,000. However, the cost savings average about $40 to $60 a month. This would mean it would take 25 years before the cost of the panels was paid off by the electricity savings. There are also incentives to take into consideration, which could total up to $8,000. However, every homeowner will be different, so it's best to talk to companies to get cost comparisons and do research on how much it will actually cost and what programs are available.

APS makes it easy

There are other ways to bring solar power to your home as well. For instance, the APS provides the Solar Partner Program to those who have qualifying homes. The company will pay all installation and maintenance fees on the panels and will pay the homeowner $30 a month to keep the panels on their roof. The company will monitor the amount of sun the generated throughout the day and compare it to peak energy demands.

According to a press release, the program's first installation was completed this July in Phoenix and will allow for 1,500 homes to take part.

"It is a good program," Gregg Dufort, owner of the home on which the first installation was placed, said in a press release. "I'm a fan of solar but it's cost prohibitive to do a 20 year lease. I did my research and this program was a 'no brainer'. I checked on the obligation option when you sell because I plan on moving and renting this home the renter would benefit from the $30 credit. It is a good deal with no investment."

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