With the abundance of sun in Arizona it’s a wonder we are just now asking this question. The fact is there has never been a better time to go Solar than right now. Arizona has some of the best incentives in the country. SRP will pay $2.70 per watt rebate ($3.00 for APS) of solar installed and the State will kick-in a $1,000 tax credit and not charge you any sales tax. Add that to a 30% federal tax credit and you end up with 65-70% of the cost of your system paid for. You still have some up front costs but the pay back is still attractive for most homeowners. For example, a $30,000 5 kilowatt system will end up costing you approximately $10,800 after all rebates and tax credits. This system will save you from $100 to $120 off your SRP electric bill depending on how efficiently you use the system.

Going to a time-of-use rate plan with SRP and minimizing your power usage during the day or peak periods, will allow your solar system to generate excess electricity which the power company buys from you. The utilities call this net metering. In the winter months when you are not using your air conditioner and you are generating extra power from you solar system, you can actually receive credits on your electric bill which you use during the hot summer months. And say you’re a retiree and not home for those hot summer months, you may even develop credits during the summer. But beware, the utility companies will “zero out” your bill after a one year period. So generating more power than you can use is not wise at this point.

Many homeowners still say “$10,000 in this economy, that’s a lot of money”. But look at this way. In the last year many people took money out of the stock market and put it in more secure CD’s. Most of the CD’s earn 3% or less. That’s $300 a year for a $10,000 CD. If you took that same $10,000 and invested in a solar system, you could save at least $100 per month off you electric bill. That’s $1,200 a year; in a 7 to 8 year period the system is paid for and generating free power guaranteed for the next 18 years. And that’s guaranteed; these panels will continue to generate power many years after that. What other investment can guarentee that kind of return?

The next question usually is “what if I plan on selling my house in a few years?” To answer a question with a question, do you think your house with little or no electric bill is worth more or will sell before a similar house without solar? Yes is the answer. The rule of thumb in real estate is, 20 times the amount of lowered operating expense (lower electric bill). That would be $1,200 less a year ($100 month) x 20 or $24,000. No other home improvement will net you more cash when you sell.

So is solar right for you? Only you can answer that. I hope I’ve answered some of your questions and at least got you thinking about solar.

For more information or to take the next step in going Solar contact Scott Downey at or 602-431-9626.

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