How To Find The Best Solar Companies In Arizona
With about 200 solar installers working in the state, finding the best solar companies in Arizona can be tough. The Grand Canyon state enjoys almost 300 days of sun a year. That sunshine coupled with the state’s incentive programs make Arizona just about perfect for installing solar. In fact, the state boasts the 3rd highest concentration of solar in the US, behind just California and North Carolina.
Since factors beyond just the size of your system affect your total installation cost and savings, the first step when deciding on a solar installation is to get several quotes from local installers. Orientation of the solar panels on your roof, equipment type, your utility rates, and your local weather are all tricky to assess, but greatly affect production and savings. The best way to get an accurate savings estimate is to get multiple quotes from local Arizona installers from our trusted partner marketplace:
Average Arizona home solar installation costs
As of 2019, installing solar in Arizona costs about $3.10 per watt. For an average-sized 6 kilowatt installation, that adds up to about $18,600. Of course, Arizona homeowners are eligible for great incentives to knock that cost down and few actually have to shell out the full cost of the installation.
After those incentives, that medium-sized installation which cost $18,600 should pay itself off in about 10 years and help you save $25,000 over its 25-year lifespan.
After those incentives, that medium-sized installation which cost $18,600 should pay itself off in about 10 years and help you save almost $29,000 over its 25-year lifespan.
Here’s how cost and savings adds up for some common installation sizes:
|System Size||$/watt Cost||Total Cost||Total Cost (with ITC)||Total Savings|
|6 kW||$3.10 per watt||$18,600||$13,020||$28,924|
|10 kW||$3.10 per watt||$31,000||$21,700||$48,207|
|12 kW||$3.10 per watt||$37,200||$26,040||$57,849|
The best solar installation companies in Arizona
With 200 installers working in Arizona, picking out the best ones can be difficult. They all offer different equipment, pricing, and services areas. To help you out, we’ve picked out our three favorite Arizona installers. Each of the companies below are headquartered in Arizona, provide incredible customer service, and install top notch solar installations.
- Elevation Solar: Best Customer Satisfaction
- Pep Solar: Oldest Installer
- AZ Sun: Best Warranty
Let’s look and see what sets each one of these companies apart from the competition.
Elevation Solar: Best Customer Satisfaction
Quick Look: Installed over 4,000 installations and near-perfect customer feedback
Elevation Solar is a local Arizona solar company founded in 2014. While they’ve only been around for five years, in that short time they have installed 4,000 residential solar systems – that’s a huge amount for a company so young. Even with this rapid growth, Elevation seems to have managed to keep customer service front and center. No matter what review platform you prefer, Elevation boasts near-perfect customer reviews. Homeowners report Elevation’s sales process is based on education more than high-pressure tactics and the installer stays communicative throughout the process.
Elevation aims to help homeowners reduce their energy cost through not only solar, but also energy efficiency, and smart home energy management. They are certified home energy auditors and a member of the Department of Energy’s Home Performance with Energy Star program. In fact, the company is so successful that the DOE named Elevation as a 2019 Contractor of the Year for their efforts to help homeowners reduce their energy use.
Elevation installs Panasonic solar panels, some of the most efficient, best warrantied panels on the market and what Tesla currently uses in its own products. Beyond that, they also install EV chargers, energy storage, and smart home and energy management technologies.
PEP Solar: Oldest Installer
Quick Look: Founded in 1981 and has installed over 7,000 residential installations
Most solar installers zoom in on photovoltaic solar (the kind that makes energy) and offer few other services. If you’re looking for a one-stop solar shop where you can install solar, your EV charger, and solar tube lights for your living room, check out PEP Solar.
This Phoenix-based company installs an array of solar-related products, including PV solar, solar water heaters, energy storage, solar pool heating, EV chargers, solar lighting, among others.
Beyond their well-rounded equipment options, PEP Solar is also one of the oldest solar installers in Arizona, and possibly even the entire US. They’ve been installing solar since 1981, when PEP worked with the federal government to install solar systems on the Navajo Reservation. Since that time, they’ve installed over 7,000 solar installations in their 40-year history.
PEP Solar doesn’t rest on its laurels though. They offer excellent products (high-performance, American-made, and/or thin film panels) with lengthy 15-year workmanship warranties (the state of Arizona only requires a 2-year workmanship warranty). They have both a general contractor and solar license and an A+ rating with the BBB.
AZ Sun: Best Warranty
Quick Look: 20 year workmanship guarantee, installed 1000+ residential installations
Like Elevation Solar above, AZ Sun is relatively young – founded in just 2015 – but has made a big splash in the Arizona solar market. AZ Sun is based in Tempe and in the past four years has installed over 500 installations, a far cry from the installers above, but enough to know how to really knock out some excellent installations at a low cost.
AZ Sun actually works as a 3rd party installer for larger solar companies. They claim that homeowners can bypass some of the costs of installing solar by purchasing ‘wholesale’ with them and customer reviews that mention cost corroborate this claim.
One of AZ Sun’s biggest differentiators from their competition though is their excellent workmanship warranty. They offer a full 20-year guarantee on their solar installations. The state of Arizona only requires a 2-year workmanship guarantee for solar installations, so 20 years is far above requirements and close to the estimated lifetime of your solar panels (25 years). If you’re looking for long-term assurance that your installation will work, be sure to add AZ Sun to your shortlist.
How to Choose a Solar Installer in Arizona
To find the best solar installer for your home, focus on reaching out to multiple companies to discuss cost and savings and to vet their experience and knowledge.
Comparing quotes from multiple installers is the single most important thing you can do to ensure you get the best installation at the best price. Different installers will carry different equipment or utilize unique design layouts that could boost your energy production, so it takes time to talk through your project with a few different companies.
And of course, like any home improvement project, prices can vary widely from one installer to the next, so getting multiple estimates ensures the best cost. The cost of installing solar in Arizona is higher than the national average, but thankfully Arizona’s sunny skies and great state tax credit more than make up for these high prices.
Arizona does not require any solar-specific accreditation or licenses for businesses looking to install solar. While some states offer solar-specific accreditation or licensing to install solar, Arizona installers only need a general electrical contractor license.
While a general electrical contractor will be able to install your solar installation safely, a general contractor license doesn’t necessarily ensure that they understand the nuances of solar installations, like panel placement, how shade affects production, and which equipment is best in certain situations. This makes finding a reputable, knowledgeable and experienced solar installer even more important.
Arizona requires solar installers to offer a 2-year workmanship guarantee for all solar installations. While some installers will offer the absolute minimum, the better ones (like the ones above) will go above and beyond offering 15 to 20 year workmanship warranties. It pays to discuss this during your initial meetings.
The manufacturer will offer the warranty for your solar equipment, like the panels and inverter, and some offer longer or more thorough warranties than others. Your installer can lay out the warranty information for the equipment available.
Solar Financing options in Arizona
Arizona homeowners can chose among the three main solar financing types: cash, loan, and lease.
Dollar-for-dollar, paying in cash is always going to give you the biggest return for your investment. Unlike solar leases or PPAs, cash allows you to take advantage of all the tax credits and other incentives directly, lowering your initial investment by about 35% after the first year.
Of course, paying in cash ties up your money for the first 10 years or so, as you recoup your initial investment via energy savings. If cash isn’t an option right now, take a look at loans instead.
By taking out a loan, you still own the installation and enjoy the tax credits and other incentives, but since you’re using someone else’s money to pay for the installation, you’ll never have to shell out thousands of dollars for the installation.
Of course, your loan’s interest will eat into your total savings. If you took out a 5%/15 year loan for the 6 kW installation we discussed at the beginning of this article, your investment (initially $18,600) increases by $7,725 and your total lifetime savings drop to about $17,200. While that’s much lower than paying with cash, it’s still about a 5% rate of return – lower than the average stock but higher than most bonds or high-yield saving accounts.
Arizona homeowners can secure loans via specialty clean energy loan companies, local credit unions, or banks. Clean energy loan companies, like GreenBiz Financial, are popping up across the US and offer low interest rate loans for solar installations and other green home improvement projects.
Local credit unions often offer low-interest loans specifically for solar installations. Arizona’s Credit Union West, for example lays out special rates for solar installations on its personal loans, credit cards, home equity loans, and Home Equity Lines of Credit.
Obviously, the lower the interest rate, the less you spend and the more you’ll save from your installation, so take time to reach out to a few different lenders.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
Under a Power Purchase Agreement, your solar company finances your installation so you don’t pay anything out of pocket. You then purchase all the electricity the installation generates from your solar company.
Big solar installers like Sunrun, Vivint, and Tesla made their living off PPAs and leases, but these financing mechanisms are waning in popularity as more homeowners purchase their installations with cash or loan.
Like solar loans, PPAs require zero upfront investment from homeowners, so going solar is an easy hurdle to jump. However, total savings are much lower than with both cash and loan financing. Since offering solar leases and PPAs requires huge reserves of capital, only large installers like Sunrun and Tesla can offer this financing type. Local installers like our top picks above typically don’t offer leases or PPAs.
Arizona solar financial incentives, rebates and tax credits
While shelling out thousands for your solar installation might sound like a daunting task, Arizona homeowners have a handful of incentives to help drop the cost of going solar.
Federal Tax Credit
All AZ homeowners are eligible for the 30% federal income tax credit. You’ll apply for this tax credit when you file your taxes the year following your installation. As a non-refundable credit, the feds won’t cut you a check if this credit brings your owed taxes below $0, but you can break it down into chunks and claim portions over several years. Important note! This credit is set to lower at the end of 2019, so act fast if you want to lower your installation costs as much as possible.
State Tax Credit
In tandem with the federal tax credit, the state of Arizona also offers a 25% tax credit for all solar installations, up to $1,000. For our $18,600 example installation we continue referring to, adding both of these tax credits would lower your total investment to just $12,020. Pretty sweet!
Property Tax Exemption
Arizona also offers a property tax exemption for the additional value all your solar equipment adds to your home. The average property tax in the state is 0.845%, so with the exemption you’d save about $157 the first year for that $18,600 installation.
On top of these statewide incentives, two utilities still offer incentives for residential solar. Mohave Electric in Bullhead City and Duncan Valley Electric Coop both offer $0.05 per watt for residential solar systems, up to $2,500 and $500 respectively.
Arizona solar policy
The most important state-level policy for solar homeowners to understand is the net metering regulations for their state. Net metering has been a contentious issue from the get-go and many utilities, most notably in Arizona, have fought tooth-and-nail to either lower net metering incentives or throw them away completely.
In December 2016, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted to nix net metering for utilities APS, TEP, and UNS Electric, opting instead for ‘export riders’ that they said more accurately represent the value solar adds to the grid. These export riders work similarly to net metering, but is not equal to the $/kWh rate you pay the utility.
Under these new rules, the utilities above can decide (with approval from the ACC) how to compensate homeowners for all solar electricity sent to the grid. As such, each utility’s net metering regulations are slightly different. As of August 2019, APS, for example, pays $0.11 per kWh of solar energy sent to the grid, but also charges a ‘grid access’ charge of $0.93 per kW, based on the highest amount of electricity your installation sends to the grid at any one point during the month (for a 6 kW installation, that would probably equal around $5/month, though it depends on the monthly weather). This compensation is credited to your account, which you can pull from in later months to pay for any electricity you use from the utility.
Ready to get started? Get multiple quotes from local Arizona installers