The final step in making Arizona the greenest state in the nation
is to zero out home and business electricity usage completely with a
solar electric photovoltaic (PV) system, which use the sun's
energy to produce free clean, green electricity.
The good news is that the Arizona Corporation Commission has set
some very aggressive goals for moving Arizona toward this goal
with the passage of the Renewable Energy Standard (RES), which
requires 15% of all energy to be generated by renewable energy
power plants by the year 2025. As a result, we have more than
$185 million waiting for consumers and businesses in 2009 alone
via utility companies' incentive programs to help them pay for
energy efficient upgrades and solar power systems.
In addition to incentives, Arizona also has one of the most
aggressive net metering systems, which allows customers to produce
up to 125% of their annual electricity usage and sell the excess
electricity back to the utility company.
The results have been impressive. In Arizona's largest utility
service territory, APS' solar customer installation rates jumped
more than 70% in 2008. But there is tremendous room for more growth.
An APS Valuation Study confirmed that more than 262 million square
feet of roof space is still available and waiting for solar panel
deployment within its service territory.
The best way to determine whether or not your home or business
is a good choice for a solar installation is to use Google Earth
to look up your building's address. If your roof is flat, it is
a very good candidate for solar. If the tilted roof faces south,
then you also have a very good potential solar rooftop.
second criteria is to look for are things like pipes, AC units,
utility poles or trees that might cast a shadow on any part of
your roof during the day. Last, but not least, is the condition
of your roof. If it is in need of any repairs, most solar
installation companies move on to the next location for
If you run a business, the same procedure applies. One added
benefit that most businesses have are parking lots. The nice
thing about solar panels is that the provide shade. As long
as you install solar panels on top of a car port structure,
you can use solar incentive programs to pay for the installation
of solar/parking garage structures.
Solar covered parking spots
are a great way for shopping malls, movie theaters, and franchise
fast food restaurants to increase retail foot traffic because
people love to park in the shade if it is available. How many
businesses or apartments complexes have covered parking? How
many have solar panel installed?
The amount of roof space needed to roof-mount a solar system
is based on the size or generating capacity of the system. A
general rule of thumb is that 100 square feet of roof space
is required for every kilowatt of electric capacity.
The number of kilowatts required depends on the energy
usage and how much of your energy use you want to offset.
Most people will not be able to afford zeroing out their
home's total energy bill. However, a cost-effective strategy
is for homeowners to add one string of solar panels every
year until they zero out their home's energy usage.
According to the "Appraisal Journal," for every dollar
your annual electric bill decreases due to your solar power
system, your property's value will increase $20.
Solar is a great investment for the environment
regardless of the size of the system installed. You
never know when incentive programs will vanish. If
you procrastinate, you run the risk of missing out on
incentive programs that are available right now, but
may not last until you are ready to make a purchase decision.
5 Steps to Create an Energy Efficient Solar Home in Arizona