Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When is the APS Deadline for Grandfathering Solar Customers?
Q:
What happens if it's cloudy or rainy for several days in a row?
Q: Do I need batteries in my solar electric system?
Q: But if I don't have batteries, how will I get electricity during the night or when the sun isn't shining?
Q: What modifications would be necessary for my house to run on solar electricity?
Q: So how do you estimate the cost of a solar electric system for my home or business?
Q: What does an average solar electric system cost?
Q: What modifications would be necessary for my house to run on solar electricity?

Answers

Q: When is the APS Deadline for Grandfathering Solar Customers?
A: If you are already an APS Solar Customer you are not affected, you would keep the rules in place for 20 years from when you were originally interconnected and you transfer the 20 year timeline to any new homeowner if you decide to sell your home. For customers thinking about going solar you need to have your application in by July 1st, 2017 The Application needs to include the electrical engineering provided by your solar installer to meet the deadline. Customers then have 180 Days to complete the installation of the system.

Q: What happens if it's cloudy or rainy for several days in a row?
A: Your solar electric system would produce less electricity, but you wouldn't notice the difference inside your home. Grid-tied solar systems never "run out" of electricity. Although solar panels only produce their maximum output in full, unobstructed sunlight, they will still produce power on cloudy or rainy days - albeit much less than normal. During these times, you end up buying more power from the utility company to make up the "deficit." When we design systems we take into account weather variables and can accurately estimate monthly and annual solar electricity production.

Q: Do I need batteries in my solar electric system?
A: Batteries are only necessary if you are (a) living "off-the-grid"; or (b) living in an area with a high occurrence of power outages. Most solar electric systems in urban areas, where grid connections already exist, forgo batteries and effectively use the utility grid as a battery. Not having batteries in a system will reduce the overall cost and virtually eliminates maintenance

Q: But if I don't have batteries, how will I get electricity during the night or when the sun isn't shining?
A: If you're tied to the grid, then you simply take electricity from the utility. This happens whenever you are consuming more electricity than your solar system is producing - such as at night or during rainy weather. When the sun is shining, however, and you are producing more power than you're consuming, then the solar system will feed the excess electricity back into the grid, causing your meter to spin backwards. Each month, your utility meter may spin backwards and forwards on a daily basis, but your monthly utility bill will only show the "net" change that occurred. This is called "net metering" and it allows you to achieve a "net zero" bill by selling back the power that you use at a RETAIL rate. If you produce MORE power than you use each month, the credits will carry over for later use for up to 12 months. Afterwards, if you still have a credit leftover, the utility may pay you for the excess power you produced, but it will only be at the WHOLESALE rate which is much lower than retail.

Q: What modifications would be necessary for my house to run on solar electricity?
A: Very little, if any. Solar panels are relatively lightweight, so there are rarely any structural modifications required. Conduit and wire must be installed from the solar panels to the electrical panel. Typical installations take only 1-3 days, with only 1 hour without power.

Q: So how do you estimate the cost of a solar electric system for my home or business?
A: We start by analyzing your recent utility bills to determine how much electricity you consume per month (measured in kilowatt-hours = kWh) and on an annual basis. We then factor in specific issues that are unique to your home or business such as available roof area and shading from trees or other buildings. We'll then be able to show you the investment required to produce as much as 100%, or even as little as 10%, of your electrical power needs.

Q: What does an average solar electric system cost?
A:Most residential solar PV systems cost between $5,000-$15,000 (after rebates and incentives) which includes the cost of all materials, installation, freight, permit fees and sales tax. Solar PV systems for small businesses typically range from $10,000-$35,000 while large-scale commercial projects can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Q: What modifications would be necessary for my house to run on solar electricity?
A: Very little, if any. Solar panels are relatively lightweight, so there are rarely any structural modifications required. Conduit and wire must be installed from the solar panels to the electrical panel. Typical installations take only 1-3 days, with only 1 hour without power.


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