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What to Expect From Your Home Solar Energy Analysis

Thank you for taking the next step in learning about home solar power and what it means for you, our Tucson economy, and our beautiful planet!

Why is a Home Solar Energy Analysis important?

There is an incredible variety of solar programs available; some are tailored for young homeowners looking to increase the value of their homes, others are geared towards helping families save as much money as possible over the long term, and even programs for retirees who don’t have the option to claim tax credits.

No matter where you are in your life, one of our Solar Energy Experts will be able to provide the answers to all your solar energy questions and help you determine which solar option is best suited to your individual needs.

We also love the opportunity this gives us to connect with the community face-to-face and be active in bettering our surroundings!

Who is a Solar Energy Expert?

Our Solar Energy Experts are hand-selected from the best, most knowledgeable home solar professionals available. The average expert has over 1,000 hours of real photovoltaic solar experience. Every single expert then goes through at least 40 full hours of extensive training to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction and confidence. We understand that this is a big decision for you and your home, so we want to make sure you have the most accurate information possible!

Why is the Solar Power Analysis done in my home?

These consultations are in-home so that we can take a look at a few factors around your home to make sure that we provide the most accurate estimate possible, and find the program that best fits your needs.

Your Solar Energy Expert will thoroughly inspect your house’s:

Main Electrical Service

Meter placement

Roof Condition

Roof Shading

Roof Orientation

Appliances/Lighting/HVAC for Inefficiency

Electricity Bill

Can the Solar Expert help me understand the tax credit?

Every Solar Energy Expert is expertly trained to help evaluate your eligibility for the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, and other local rebates as well.

Will I have any information to look over afterward?

After inspecting your house, evaluating your tax status, and learning about your solar goals, your Solar Energy Expert will make a customized recommendation that will maximize your solar savings. He can print this out or provide it to you via email.

What happens next?

Once we have received your information, you will be contacted by a local Tucsonan with Solar Solution AZ to set up your Free in Home Energy Analysis.

Going solar is a smart choice when you have the right information! So call now, and join over 2,000 customers in the valley who are basking in the savings our own sun provides! Call (520) 858-0220 now!

Will Solar Panels Work For My Manufactured/Mobile Home?

Solar Panel Systems have become increasingly popular in Tucson over the last few years, and it is pretty easy to see why. No money down financing, home equity boosts, and upfront savings from my electric bill? Where do I sign up?

Electric customers that are living in Manufactured or Mobile homes have been all but left out of this scramble for savings. Most solar installers neglect these homeowners simply because they haven’t done the proper engineering, or because their financing doesn’t allow for Manufactured homes. Even the installers that would work with these homeowners only typically offer more expensive ground mount set-ups, avoiding the roof of the Manufactured home.

At Solar Solution AZ, our mission is to better the community in any way possible, and to further that goal, we now offer solar programs that work with Manufactured homes!

There are a few factors we need to look at, however, to make sure that these programs will work for you:

  • Must be the Home Owner
  • Must be connected to APS, TEP, TRICO, UniSource, ED3, or SSVEC electric grids
  • When roof-mounted, must be Double-Wides built after 1980
  • If on a standalone structure, instead of the roof, you must be the land-owner

If those sound like you, then we have a solar program that can start saving you money in month one!

The average savings a customer of ours would see on a manufactured home is roughly $70,000 over 25 years and over 20% less the very first month!

This is dependent upon your local utility programs, for more information, check out our other solar articles.

Start letting the electric company and the sun work for you! Give us a call at (520) 858-0220 today to see if solar will work for you and your home!

Is Solar Net Metering Ending in Arizona?

Probably, but the future of Solar in Arizona doesn’t look quite as dark as it seems!

For those of you just tuning in, Net Metering refers to the agreement homeowners make with the Utility company when they install rooftop solar. It works pretty simply, any excess electricity produced that you don’t use right away at the house gets back-fed onto the electric grid. They get credited exactly how many kWh they put onto the grid to be used later on that year. It is a 1-to-1 transfer ratio, so they get to use the credits later on without losing any in the transfer. If any credits are leftover at the end of the year, the utility company pays a set rate for those, typically around 2-4 cents per kWh. However, most of the electricity that is being made throughout the year, will be used sometime that year and will still carry the retail value for electricity, roughly 13-14 cents per kWh.

Utility companies have been going back and forth with ACC utility regulators about changing the net metering policies, since the beginning days of rooftop solar, with every new rate case spreading more uncertainty for homeowners looking into solar for themselves. I remember meeting with my very first customer at the start of my solar career; they were worried that TEP was going to make drastic changes to rooftop solar’s net metering guidelines before they could get their own panel array put up. If you read the disclaimer on their electric bill, you probably would too.  That was years ago though and no changes have been made yet, although it feels like this game of chicken is well into overtime.

For those of us that have been watching this grudge match from the beginning, the finale on the horizon is a sight for sore eyes.

Recently, the Phoenix-based Utility, APS reached an agreement with local solar and consumer advocacy groups to set the export rate for excess electricity produced by rooftop solar panels. This is not an official ACC decision, so it carries no real weight, but it is a sign of things to come.

These are the basics:

  • The plan would get rid of net metering policies for all new homeowners signing up after the decision is final
  • Current solar customers would be grandfathered in for 20 years to the old net metering policies
  • New customers signing up would be paid 12.9 cents per kWh for all their excess electricity

If the light bulb hasn’t clicked yet, this isn’t a very big difference from today’s policies. In fact, for most solar customers under our plans, today’s bills would only change by a few dollars.

Not quite the dark future you were expecting, was it?

That Dark Side of Solar is Pretty Sunny

10 September was the biggest month ever for Tucson Electric Power’s Renewable Energy Department. Over 500 applications for new solar connections came in and October seems to be keeping pace.
What’s driving this surge? Better financing options for consumers and better information results in an even broader range of customers.

Now Tucsonans are financing solar through leases, new 20-year solar loans, home refinancing, and other means. Recent neighborhood solar home tours showed off all these choices. The trend is also creating jobs (over 8,500 solar jobs in Arizona) while cleaning our air and saving water. What’s not to like?

Some complainers seem set on putting out false information to try and make solar look bad, so let’s set the record straight.

Do you have to be wealthy to get solar? No. TEP’s solar map shows solar installations in every Tucson ZIP code from the foothills to the far southside. And solar is happening in Sierra Vista, Nogales, and all over Southern Arizona.

Can businesses save by going solar? Yes. Businesses from hospitals to veterinarians to churches to bookstores have saved money and helped improve our air and water situation by going solar.

Can solar be installed on apartments? Yes. Many Tucson apartment owners have done just that. Take a look at La Mirada apartments on East Grant for example and there are many others.

Can solar be installed on subsidized housing? Yes. Check out the New Armory Park apartments on West Congress with their 125 kW solar array on the roof.

Are the tax credits helping people who own their solar panels? Yes. Many studies now show that homes with solar sell faster and for more than similar homes without solar. Owning the panels has some benefits over loans, too.

And what about net metering? This allows folks with solar to sell their excess power to the utility company and get a credit on their bill to offset the power they use when solar doesn’t meet all their needs. Some people call this “running the meter backward.”

Is this a scam that somehow forces non-solar ratepayers to subsidize those with solar? No. Studies in Nevada, Mississippi, and elsewhere now have shown that net metering actually helps all of us by delaying or preventing new power plants, reducing transmission costs, and helping meet peak power needs. Net metering encourages more solar and more solar helps everyone. Under current rules, net metering is limited so it’s not a way to get rich, just break even.

Could Arizona’s solar policy help more low-income people? Sure. Arizona could make it easier for low-income homeowners and businesses to go solar by adopting a PACE program where loans (for energy efficiency, water conservation, or solar) could be paid back with taxes. Community solar programs for neighborhoods could be made legal. And lots of other ideas could make solar even more available.

But let’s not complain about success now. Rather let’s help people get good solid information about Arizona’s best source of energy — our daily dose of sunshine!

TEP is Getting On Board With Solar!!!

We received a call yesterday from TEP to attend a meeting in regards to the TEP solar program that may or may not be kicking off in 2015. TEP is going to be setting up solar systems for their customers so as to help the forward progress of solar and to get on board with the transition into a greener world. I personally believe that there is some profit motive here because TEP is an investor-owned utility company. But it’s ok for investors to make money and at the same time save the average everyday family money right? I would agree so Solar Solution AZ is on board with helping TEP integrate more solar into Tucson. We hope the program is fair and that it actually saves TEP customers money and that is not a gimmick like their solar plan before. The solar plan before was where a customer would pay a premium to buy a couple of solar panels at one of the TEP solar farms. The deal was pretty much a rip-off where a customer would never see a return on investment.

There is no clear indication on whether or not this plan is going to be approved or not but if TEP’s plan is fair and it saves customers money we at Solar Solution AZ are on board with that but if it does not save the customer money you can rest assured that we will not be a part of it.

More to come I will provide an update next week after the meeting.

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