TEP Residential Solar Program

 

The TEP Residential Solar Program was designed to provide local homeowners a way to go solar with no installation or maintenance costs while enjoying stable, long-term energy prices.

Since 2015, TEP has partnered with local solar companies to install a limited number of photovoltaic (PV) arrays at the homes of participating customers. TEP owns and operates the systems, using them to help provide participants with electric service for a set monthly fee that will remain fixed for up to 25 years.

This program is currently closed to new participants. TEP has requested that the program be continued and expanded and is awaiting direction from the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).

Existing program participants will continue to receive all contracted services, and all agreements with TEP will be honored.


 

Program benefits

  • No up-front installation or long-term maintenance costs.
  • Participating customers’ electricity costs will be fixed for up to 25 years, offering future savings if TEP’s standard electric rates increase. The fixed rates remain subject to change by the ACC.
  • Because the fixed fee can be adjusted to reflect significant changes in energy use, participating customers have an opportunity to reduce their bills through energy efficiency efforts.
  • The program is available to TEP customers regardless of their FICO credit scores.
  • TEP owns, operates and maintains the PV systems, relieving concerns about reliability or long-term ownership costs.
  • Because program participants make payments comparable to their current average bills, they do not increase costs for other TEP customers. By contrast, the bill savings enjoyed by users of private solar arrays are subsidized by higher rates for other customers.
  • TEP hires private companies to install and maintain the systems, supporting the local solar community and promoting job creation.
  • Because TEP owns and operates the solar power systems, they can be used to contribute to the reliability and stability of the local electric grid.
  • TEP’s ownership of the PV systems allows participants to avoid restrictive provisions of solar lease agreements when selling their home. The system and fixed electric rate can remain with the home, providing sellers with an attractive, marketable feature.

FAQs

Program costs

Is there a fee to participate in the program?

A one-time $250 processing fee will be charged to program participants once the system is installed and operational. Afterward, participants will pay a fixed solar payment for electric service instead of TEP's standard, usage-based rate.

How much will my fixed solar payment be?

Your fixed solar payment would be comparable to your average TEP electric bills during the 12 months before you signed up for the program. Because that average reflects usage from all seasons, your payment would be fixed at a level between your highest and lowest bills. Because the payment is based on usage, it may represent an increase over the average bills paid by customers on time-of-use pricing plans or the discounted TEP Guarantee Home rate.

Will this program reduce my monthly electric bills?

If TEP's rates and energy costs increase after you join the program, your fixed solar payment would remain locked in at a level that represents savings compared to those higher rates and costs. The program is not guaranteed to produce savings, though, and the fixed solar payment could change under certain limited circumstances.

 
Will my fixed solar payment ever change?

Your fixed solar payment would remain the same for up to 25 years as long as your energy use remains within 15 percent of the annual consumption level defined in your contract. If your usage in any calendar year increases or falls beyond that level, your fixed solar payment would be updated to reflect your new usage. The fixed solar payment also is subject to change by the ACC.

 
What if the ACC changes the tariff rate paid by program participants?

If current program participants are not exempted from such a change, they would be free to opt out of the program at that time. For those who provide such notice to TEP within ten (10) days of such a change, TEP would remove the solar power system and return them to a standard residential rate.

Do I need to sign up for Auto Pay to participate in the program?

Yes. Program participants must use TEP's Auto Pay service, which automatically deducts monthly payments from their checking or savings accounts. With Auto Pay, there's no check to write and mail, no late fees or notices.

Installation and maintenance

How long will it take to install the system on my home after I sign the Authorization to Proceed?

Generally speaking, participants can expect to have a system installed within approximately eight to twelve weeks after the contract is executed. The installation itself should take about one week.

How much load will this system put on my roof? Can I have it installed on the ground?

A typical photovoltaic (PV) system creates 3-4 pounds per square foot of load on a roof. Ground-mounted systems will be considered on a case by case basis.

Can the solar array be removed to accommodate roof maintenance or replacement?

Yes, but only TEP authorized representatives can remove the panels. The homeowner will be responsible for the cost of panel removal and replacement.

Can I use the TEP solar array to heat my pool?

No. The solar array sends energy to TEP’s local distribution system, where it is combined with other grid resources to serve participating customers’ energy needs. The solar energy cannot be directed to power a pool heater.

Am I responsible for repairs or maintenance of the system?

No. As owner of the system, TEP will be responsible for all routine maintenance and repairs. Only TEP’s authorized solar installation companies may assist with repairs, maintenance or warranty claims for the system.

What if the system is damaged or destroyed?

TEP is responsible for damage caused by theft, vandalism, storms, fires, natural disasters or other similar unforeseen forces. If the system is damaged through the homeowner’s wilful misconduct or negligence, however, the homeowner will be held responsible.

Will TEP regularly come to my home and replace the solar panels?

No. The system is designed to last 25 years. TEP does not expect to replace or upgrade panels.

What if I have a problem with the system?

Any question or concern about the solar power system or the program itself can be directed to TEP’s Customer Care department at (520) 623-7711.

Are non-RF meters available to program participants?

No. Program participants will need to agree to the installation of standard TEP service meters that communicate using radio frequency.

Other issues

Can I purchase the TEP system installed on my home?

Yes. Program participants have an option to purchase the system after six years at a price that varies based on the system's age and capacity. Customers who exercise that option would subsequently leave the TEP Residential Solar Program and take service under a standard electric rate.

What happens after 25 years in the program?

At the end of the contract term, TEP will remove the system unless the program participant decides to purchase the system or extend the contract.

What happens if I sell my home after it's equipped with a TEP system through the program?

TEP's intends for the system to stay on the property for the 25-year period. If the program participant sells the home, the new homeowner can simply assume the remainder of the contract by filling out and submitting a transfer/assignment form to TEP. If the buyer does not want the system on the house, an exit fee set forth in the contract can be paid, the system removed and the home returned to the standard residential rate. The exit fee would vary based on the system's age and capacity.

Would someone buying a home equipped with a TEP system need to qualify to participate in the program?

No. The new owner simply would need to serve as the named TEP account holder and agree in writing to assume the contract terms. For this reason, the homes sold by program participants should prove attractive to buyers interested in solar power and a fixed electric fee that may compare favorably to TEP's standard electric rates.

Who receives the benefit of tax incentives or rebates?

As owner of the systems, TEP will retain all rights to tax incentives, credits, environmental credits, rebates, and other such benefits.

What if I have a complaint about the program that I cannot resolve with TEP?

TEP is a regulated public service corporation under the jurisdiction of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The ACC has an established process for filing a complaint, and TEP is obligated to comply with ACC rules under state law. For more information, visit the ACC's Consumer Services Division.

What if I have questions not addressed by this FAQ?

Please feel free to email us with any additional questions at TEPresidentialsolar@tep.com

Our renewable resources

TEP is expanding its portfolio of clean renewable resources to help provide you with safe, reliable and affordable electric service.