Solar FAQs

Learn More About Solar Energy Systems

What should I consider before installing a solar electric system?


As with any system change to your home or commercial property, it's important to consider the following:

  1. Contractor selection. As with any home improvement project, its ultimate success is dependent on choosing the right contractor. Get advice to help you make an educated choice.
  2. System Type. There are different types of systems and costs can vary widely among contractors. You should research the system types available so that you ultimately select the best type for your home.
  3. Maintenance. Solar electric systems will require ongoing maintenance, so know the system's recommended maintenance schedule and take these costs into consideration when selecting your system type. Some financial options include maintenance costs.
  4. Panel location. It is important that the panels receive the greatest amount of sunlight. As a result, you should consider factors that will impact the sun's ability to shine on the panels including shading from obstructions (such as trees), the tilt angle of the panels, and the direction the panels are facing (western exposure is best). Systems with multiple tilts or orientations can hinder production.
  5. Mounting. The method of mounting for some systems could impact roof warranties and home insurance policies.
  6. Homeowner Association (HOA) rules. Homeowner association rules may affect system selection and mounting, so review your plans with your association before installing a solar electric system.




What are my options if my homeowner's association restricts the installation of solar electric systems?


In February 2003, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that a homeowner's prohibition related to the installation of a solar energy system violated the public policy of Arizona as expressed in Arizona Revised Statute Section 33-439. Please refer to this statute to learn more about the state law regarding this issue.




How much electricity will a solar electric system produce?


Typically, solar electric systems produce 1,750 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year per kilowatt (kW) rating of the system. For example, a 5 kW system should produce 8,750 kWh per year. System output will ultimately vary depending on the type of components installed and the system's orientation in relation to the sun.




How much roof space is needed to install a solar electric system?


The typical roof space required for a solar electric system is approximately 100 square feet per kW-DC rating of the system. For example, a 5 kW system will require 500 square feet of unobstructed roof space. The amount of roof space required may vary depending on the type of solar panel installed and its tilt angle. Additionally, new fire code regulations in some jurisdictions require specific easements for safe passage of fire fighters in the event of a fire at the home.




Will I have electricity when there is no sunlight?


When your home is not being powered by your solar electric system, you will be connected to SRP's electric grid. A new integrated grid is formed by joining your renewable energy with SRP's traditional base load generation. This will ensure a steady, reliable stream of energy to all of SRP's customers.




How long will my solar electric system last?


With proper maintenance, most systems should last at least 20 years. Your contractor should provide you with a comprehensive maintenance plan based on the manufacturer's recommendation for your system type.




What is the energy loss of my system?


Each solar system is unique based on the installation type, configuration, and overall system performance. For solar systems operating in a year with typical weather, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory states there is an average system energy loss of 14%. This is based on factors such as system soiling, shading, wiring, connections, degradation, nameplate rating, age, and system availability.




What is the efficiency of the inverter?


Typical grid-tied inverter efficiencies exceed 95% under most operating conditions. Efficiency changes as a function of AC output power, DC voltage, and sometimes inverter temperature. More detailed information is available on the California Energy Commission test results page, which includes results for thousands of inverters.




What warranties should be included when I purchase a solar electric system?


At a minimum, your solar electric system will typcially need the following warranties to qualify for local utility solar incentive programs:

  1. Modules. The modules must have a performance warranty from the manufacturer that protects against the electrical output of the unit degrading more than 10% over a 10-year period, and more than 20% over a 20-year period.
  2. Inverters. Inverters must have a 10-year warranty provided by the equipment manufacturer that protects against defect or component breakdown.
  3. Installation. The installer must provide a 5-year warranty that protects against defects in the overall installation of the solar electric system that degrades the electrical output of the overall system by more than 15%. In addition, the installer must provide a 2-year warranty that covers roof penetration leaks. These installation warranties also must provide for no-cost repair or replacement of affected components, including any associated labor that is not otherwise provided by the manufacturer, during the warranty period.




Why do I need to sign an Interconnection Agreement?


Local utilities require solar customers to nterconnect their solar electric system to the utilities electrical distribution system, and sign an agreement that outlines the interconnection rules and requirements.




How much can I save with solar energy every month?


Although every system and home savings vary based on many criteria, the average monthly residential savings in the summer months is $50 to $100. In the spring, savings average $40 to $90, and in the winter, $30 to $70. You can request a quote of potential savings from Bishop Solar and/or other providers to get more specific savings information based on your residence location, rate plan and current utility provider.




What tax credits are available?


Arizona currently offers a tax credit equivalent to 25% of the system cost, capped at $1,000 per residence, regardless of the number of energy devices installed. The federal tax credit is 30% of the cost. These credits are obtained through your annual tax process. SRP recommends that you contact your tax professional with any further questions on these tax credits and whether you are eligible to take advantage of them.




Who installs solar electric systems?


A properly licensed contractor must install the solar electric system to ensure it complies with all applicable building codes and local utility program requirements.




How does SRP track the production of my solar electric system?


You local utility company will install a second meter to monitor the energy production from your solar electric system. This information is typically then available by a report that is included with your monthly bill.




What happens if my solar electric system produces more energy than I use?


Under the E-27 Customer Generation Price Plan for Residential Service, if the energy produced by the system is greater than the energy you used during the bill-cycle, then the excess energy produced is credited to that month's bill, based on the retail price in the E-27 price plan associated with the time period in which it was generated.





Still Have Questions? We Have Answers.

Contact us today to request additional details about your solar energy options.

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