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Solar Electric Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Solar panel installation on your building.

Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. Arizona is an ideal location to install solar systems since we receive a relatively high amount of annual sunshine.

2013 Incentive Status

Is solar generation right for me?

The decision to install a photovoltaic system on your property should be made after you consider a variety of factors. Local building codes, availability of sunlight, maintenance requirements and the cost of other alternative energy options such as wind, should all enter into your decision to install solar generation. In most populated areas of Arizona, a solar generator is more cost effective than other forms of renewable generation, such as wind. This is especially true if your business has a south facing roof slope that is free of shade for the majority of the day.

Solar Power Benefits

  • Produces no emissions and is replenished naturally
  • Reduces greenhouse gases
  • Saves the release of 2 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) for each kilowatt hour (kWh) produced
  • Saves the use of one-half gallon of water for each kWh of solar energy produced
  • Saves the release of other emissions that result from the burning of fossil fuels such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide or mercury
  • Makes use of one of Arizona's greatest natural resources – sunshine
  • Provides customers with options to reduce their electric bills

What incentives are available to TEP customers?

TEP no longer provides commercial solar water heating and space incentives.

Customers may qualify for federal and state tax benefits to further reduce the cost of the system. Talk with a tax professional about current tax credits available to you for a renewable energy system. You can also view federal and state tax credits at dsireusa.org.

What size system will I need?

A typical Tucson household uses about 11,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year. One kilowatt of solar power will produce approximately 1,700 kWh per year. Your system size will depend on how much of your power you would like to generate with solar and on the availability of unshaded space on your rooftop. A field visit with a qualified installer will help determine an appropriate system size.

How do I find a qualified contractor or installer?

The contractor installing your system must have a license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AZROC) that authorizes them to install the kind of system that you purchase. TEP does not endorse any contractor/installer. A customer may hire any qualified, licensed contractor of their choice. TEP does require the installer to also possess an Arizona business license that is active and in good standing.

Contractors are required to pass a solar trade exam with the AZROC in order to obtain the proper license classification. Some license classifications can be confusing and a contractor's license status may change at any given time. Please refer to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors website for the most up to date information and for appropriate licensing guidelines at AZROC.

How much electricity will my system produce?

In the Tucson area, solar systems typically produce 1,700 kilowatt hours annually per 1 kilowatt of PV installed:

  • 1 kW system = 1,700 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 2 kW system = 3,400 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 3 kW system = 5,100 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 4 kW system = 6,800 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 5 kW system = 8,500 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 6 kW system = 10,200 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 7 kW system = 11,900 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 8 kW system = 13,600 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 9 kW system = 15,300 kWh estimated annual system production
  • 10 kW system = 17,000 kWh estimated annual system production

The typical Tucson household uses 11,000 kWh per year. The average system size in Tucson is 4 kW and produces 6,800 kWh/year, 212 kWh/month or 6.9 kWh/day.

How long will it take for the system to pay for itself?

  1. Calculate your system cost federal or state credits.
  2. Estimate the electricity you will not be buying from TEP. This is your system production. This estimate is calculated by multiplying your system size in kilowatts by 1,700.
  3. Multiply your annual system production by your electricity rate. This is your annual savings.
  4. Divide your system cost calculated in Step 1) by your annual savings (calculated in Step 3). This is the years to payback.

Real payback depends on several factors including usage, system size, ability to take tax credits, your actual installed system cost, type of PV technology used in the system, and others. The installer will be able to assist with running these calculations when you contact them.

What are the available state and federal tax credits?

Consult with a tax professional about current tax credits available to you for a renewable energy system. You can also view federal and state tax credits at dsireusa.org.

Am I really making a difference in the environment if I install a solar PV system?

Customers opting for solar PV systems materially impact the environment for the better. As customers use the energy from their solar PV systems, they use less power from the utility. This allows us to reduce the amount of fuel used at our power plants, thus reducing emissions. Together, we are working today for a bright tomorrow.

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