The solar power system is an arrangement that absorbs sunlight using solar panels and converts it into electric current to run our electrical appliances.
It is called photo-voltaic technology.
Read: What are the basics of Solar-electricity?
In this post, I will discuss the design and the payback of the solar power system in the state of Arizona.
Let us start with this solar guide.
Arizona is a landlocked state located in the South-Western region of the United States of America.
It shares its borders with Mexico in the South, Utah in the North, New Mexico in the east, California in the West, and Nevada in the Northwest.
It is the sixth-largest state of the country with a total area of 2,95,253 km²
Capital: Phoenix AZ
Coordinates: Latitude 31° 20’ N to 37° N and longitude 109° 3’ W to 114° 50’W
Population: It is the 14th most populous state in the USA with a population of 7.2 million in 2021. I can say that there is a huge scope of solar in the state.
The only need is to convince people about the benefits of solar energy.
There are 15 counties in Arizona:
Peak Sun Hours in Arizona
Arizona is a large state, the Peak Sun Hours vary with the change in the latitude value.
Let us find how much you need to travel towards North or South to get a change of 1° in latitude.
Some facts about our earth:
360° means 40,192 km
1° means 40,192/360 = 111.6 km
To get a one-degree change in the latitude, you need to travel 112 km either North or South of the Equator.
It was a little MATH.
Next time you go out with your friends, surprise them with your knowledge by sharing this fact.
Okay, enough let us back to the point.
I need to take at least 5 different counties to get a fair idea of Peak Sun Hours variation across the state.
The 4 locations should be at each end of the state and the fifth one in the center to get the average Peak Sun Hours value.
1) Coconino (North)
2) La Paz (West):
3) Santa Cruz (South):
4) Gila (Central):
5) Greenlee (East):
Please see that each location that we have selected has a PSH value > 6.
This is an excellent value.
This is the place I was looking for my analysis.
I can assure you that solar is very attractive in Arizona even before proceeding to the next parameter.
The average PSH of all the five counties is:
= (6.14 + 6.56 + 6.54 + 6.50 + 6.32)/5
= 6.4 Peak Sun Hours
Arizona is known for its diverse weather and geography.
The southern part is covered with hot deserts while in Northern Arizona you will find forests, canyons, and mountain ranges.
You will find the higher temperature at lower elevations during summers in Arizona.
Read: Why do we have seasons?
The day temperature in the desert area can go as high as over 125 °F (51.67 °C).
The daily temperature difference between the minimum and the maximum during summers can be 50 to 60 °F (10 °C to 15 °C).
In the mountains of Arizona, snow is a common phenomenon.
The east region of Arizona experiences more rain than the remaining part of the state. This part is humid.
Residential Electricity Price in Arizona
The grid price in Arizona is 13.16 cents/kWh that is above the country average of 12.81 cents/kWh.
If I talk about the average annual escalation in the grid prices in Arizona in the last 12 years (2005-2017), it is 2.95%
It means that the grid prices will increase at 2.95% and you would pay 26 cents for each unit you consume in the 25th year.
It is double the amount that you are paying now.
While on the other hand, solar prices are declining with the advancement of technology.
Therefore, switching to solar is a good decision.
Units Produced by 5-kW system in Arizona
The energy produced by the solar power system depends on Peak Sun Hours in your region, the quality of the solar panels, and other components in the system.
After considering all the losses such as:
The units produced by the 5-kW solar power system in Arizona are 22-24 units per day.
This is a very good value for anyone going Solar.
The Average cost of solar in Arizona
The average cost of the solar power system in Arizona is anywhere between $2.5 per watt to $3 per watt excluding the solar tax incentive by the Federal Government.
The installed system involves various cost heads such as:
the above cost heads are distributed in the following proportion, adding to the total cost of the solar power system.
Please see that the tier-I solar panels and the installation cost constitute the maximum portion of the total cost of the system.
a) Quality of the Solar Panels:
Although we see many different technologies in the market such as half-cut solar cell technology, bi-facial solar panels, PERC solar cell technology, and many more.
The basic technology of silicon is the same
The monocrystalline solar panels are made from the wafers of silicon.
These are more efficient, occupy less space, are uniform in color, and have less power loss with the increase in the temperature.
Polycrystalline solar panels are made from fragments of silicon.
They are less efficient, occupy more space, are non-uniform in colour, and are cheaper than mono-crystalline solar panels.
Another categorization is solar panels using N-type silicon cells or P-type silicon cells.
You can find solar panels having high efficiency with both silicon types but solar panels based on N-type silicon cells are more immune to the Light Induced Degradation (LID).
b) Type of Roof and Quality of the solar installation:
The installation cost varies depending on the material of the roof, its age, inclination, and the type of mounting structure you want.
An experienced and qualified solar installer may charge you more than a new installer, but the installation would be solid, right-sizing, and will provide you smooth electricity for decades.
A 5-kW solar power system would cost $ 14000 to $ 15000 excluding Federal Tax credit.
Tax Incentives in Arizona
Arizona offers excellent incentives to the homeowners who switch to solar.
The Federal Government offers a Solar Investment Tax credit of 26% tax credit for the purchased solar power system on residential (under section 25 D) and commercial (under section 48).
The Solar ITC schedule for residential solar power is as follows:
How does solar ITC work?
Under section 25D, the homeowner who has installed the solar power system at his residence can apply for tax credit while filing his/her personal income tax.
This tax credit is deducted from the total tax liability of a person to the federal government.
For example, a homeowner purchased a solar power system of $ 10,000
The 26% tax credit would be 26% of 10,000 = $2600
Assuming, his tax liability to the federal government in that financial year is $ 4,000
His net tax liability will be $ 4,000 - $2600 = $1400 in that financial year.
In addition, Arizona state offers solar tax credits to its residents. It is 25% of the cost of the system with maximum credit amount of up to $1,000.
When I consider the cost of the 5-kW solar power system after the Federal tax credit and Arizona Tax credit, the per-watt cost would come down to $ 1.87 per watt to $ 2.02 per watt.
Are Solar Panels worth it in Arizona?
Read: How to determine the tilt of the solar panels?
Factors affecting the Solar Payback in Arizona
The payback period and the return provided by the solar power system depends on the various factors:
a) Peak Sun Hours: If your place receives good sunlight, your solar power system is going to rock and you get attractive returns year after year.
b) Cost of the system: The high cost affects the profitability of the solar power system.
Therefore, you should look for a reliable, experienced, and qualified solar installer that understands your energy needs and provide you an affordable solar solution without compromising the quality.
(i) Look for good solar installers near to you. This saves transportation costs and you get quick service.
(ii) Always ask him to showcase previous work near your neighborhood to authenticate his expertise.
(iii) Prepare yourself beforehand about solar by knowing the basics, designing, and the profitability of the solar power system undergoing a quality solar course.
c) Maintenance cost: Although the solar panels and the other electronic/electrical components in the solar power system (without battery backup) require little maintenance.
With time, the performance deteriorates and maintenance is needed to make the system working to its full capacity.
The maintenance cost includes regular cleaning and timely checking of panel outputs, tightening of loose connections, repairing of the inverter, and more.
The maintenance cost adds to the overall cost of the system and affects its profitability.
Pro tip: Look for the solar installers that cover the maintenance of the system in the total cost. This would be a more affordable and easy solution.
d) Losses in the solar power system: There are many losses (discussed above) that affect the output of the solar power system
These losses can even consume up to 30% of the power of your solar power system.
Pro tip: Look for tier-I solar panels to minimize the losses.
e) Electricity rate and its escalation: The equivalent monetary value provided by the solar power system is calculated by multiplying the solar units generated by the grid price.
The higher is the grid price more is your savings.
In addition, the escalation in the grid price increases your future savings.
f) Tax incentives and Rebates: The tax incentives and rebates further bring down the overall cost of the solar power system.
Best Solar Installers in Arizona
It is advisable to look for experienced and qualified solar installers near you.
It benefits both the parties.
You get timely service and the installer saves money on commuting to your place.
Read: What is the right time to go for Solar?
Let us look at some of the best solar installers in Arizona:
a) Titan Solar Power, Mesa AZ
b) Arizona Solar Concepts, Tempe, AZ
c) Sunny Energy LLC, Tempe AZ
d) Streamline Solar, Phoenix, AZ
e) Arizona Wholesale solar, Mesa, AZ
f) PEP Solar, Phoenix, AZ
g) American Solar & Roofing
h) Santan Solar, Gilbert, AZ
i) Aneva Solar, Scottsdale, AZ
Best Solar Panels for Arizona Climate
We discussed the climate of Arizona. It is hot and dry in most parts of the state and humid in highlands.
If you happen to live in a dry part of the state where the temperature soars high in summers.
The cell temperature may rise to 158 °F to 176 °F (70 °C to 80 °C).
You should look for solar panels that have a low-temperature coefficient of power and high temperature range.
In such places, the daily temperature difference can be as high as 50 °F to 60 °F (10 °C to 15 °C).
This temperature variation can crack the solar cells due to frequent expansion and contraction of the material.
Also, the dust may accumulate over the surface and can reduce the power output of the system.
Best Solar Panels for Arizona Hot Climate:
Read: Best Solar Panels for Home-owners living in Hot Climate
The above panels are highly efficient, low-temperature coefficient of power, high operating range, and are more immune to the shading effects.
For people living near humid places, the IEC 61701 certified solar panels are suitable for humid and salty weather
Best Solar Panels for Arizona Humid region:
In high altitudes, snow fall is common that can cover the solar panels and put pressure on their surface.
Look for solar panels that can withstand snow weight.
The high value of the front load rating (snow load) indicates the capability of the solar panel to withstand the snow pressure.
LG NeON series solar panels have one of the highest snow load ratings of 5400 Pa.
Advantages of Solar in Arizona
Humidity traps the sunlight and makes it difficult to reach the earth’s surface.)
Disadvantages of Solar in Arizona
With the increase in the temperature, the cell resistance increases, and it produces less current to run your electrical appliances.
it affects the power output.
Are solar panels worth it in Arizona?
The answer is Yes, it is technically feasible and financially attractive to switch to solar.
The above guide has considered all factors that are required in designing and finding the payback of the solar power system.
It is better to consult your nearest experienced and qualified solar installer before deciding to go solar
you may use my solar feasibility spreadsheet that designs the complete solar power system based on your energy needs and finds the payback in minutes.
I have taken the average value to find the profitability of a 5-kW solar power system.
A deviation of 10% to 15% on either side is possible.
Even after that solar is very much feasible and profitable in Arizona.
I hope this post gives you the reason for going solar.
Kindly share your experience of going solar in Arizona in the comment section.
See you with another interesting post