This Program Helps Limited-Income Customers Reduce Monthly Bills and Support Solar Energy in Arizona
By Elaina Verhoff
What if you could have solar panels installed on your home at no cost to you, and be paid to do it? A new program is available that lets limited-income APS customers throughout Arizona reduce their monthly bill while supporting renewable energy in our state.
APS Solar Program
The program, first introduced in 2018, is called APS Solar Communities, and it offers a unique opportunity for APS customers who want to help advance solar energy in Arizona and enjoy savings that will help free up income for other monthly financial obligations. Through this program, qualifying customers agree to have APS install solar panels on their single-family residence, and in exchange, they receive a $30 credit on their monthly bill. This adds up to an annual savings of $360, and $7,200 over the life of the 20-year program.
“This program is an opportunity to bring solar energy to the homes of customers who may not have otherwise been able to participate in renewable energy through a solar option,” says APS Project Manager Tammy Kasprowicz.
To qualify for the program, single-family households must be certified limited-income (at or below 200% of federal poverty level), or moderate-income (below 100% of median household income in Arizona). Other qualifying factors include roof size, orientation, and structural integrity to accommodate a system. Single-family houses (mobile homes do not qualify) need to have west- or southwest-facing roofs, which offer the greatest potential to generate energy during the late afternoon and early evening hours between 3 and 8 p.m. when customers use the most electricity. Homes must have a roof in good condition, a minimum surface area of 245 square feet, and be able to accommodate at least 14 solar panels. All requirements and eligibility guidelines are outlined at www.aps.com/solarcommunities.
How it Works
APS designed this program to be as turnkey as possible for the customer. APS will maintain ownership and maintenance of the solar panels, so there are no obligations regarding the upkeep of the system for the customer. The $30 monthly credit is a fixed amount and will not vary based on the amount of energy produced by the solar panels, regardless of weather conditions throughout the year.
“The response to the program has been fantastic, with over 300 residential systems installed to date and nine nonresidential customers under construction,” says Kasprowicz. “We continue to see applications coming in, and we’re working with communities that support lower-income residents of Arizona to help raise awareness of the program.”
The process of becoming a Solar Communities participant is simple. Interested customers are encouraged to review the details of the program online and complete a brief application. After information has been verified, an installer will come out to inspect the roof and make sure everything looks good for the solar panel installation. The municipality will inspect the system, as well. APS will then do their own inspection to make sure the system is correctly connected to the grid, install a production meter to make sure the system is producing as it should, and turn it on. Once the solar panels are up and running, customers will begin receiving a monthly $30 bill credit from APS while helping to contribute to the company’s 50% clean-energy portfolio. Participation is limited, and qualified customers will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional information is available at www.aps.com/solarcommunities.
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Elaina Verhoff is a freelance writer, public relations director and mom based in Phoenix. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @elainaverhoff.