Solar makes sense on multiple levels. There are financial incentives, it's good for our environment, it increases home value, and it creates energy independence—reducing your reliance on utilities as well as dirty fossil fuels.
Most of our customers tell us they feel good about going solar not only because they save money on utility bills, but because they feel like “part of the solution"—supporting clean energy technologies, ecology and economy—and they are! It's why we love being in this business ourselves.
Here's an overview of the biggest and best reasons to go solar—and how turning your home into a “mini power station" fueled by our abundant sunshine allows you to participate in a better Arizona and a better world.
Reducing your electricity costs with solar is smart sense in Tucson, where our desert sunshine offers some of the greatest solar potential in the country.
A solar electric system reduces what you pay to the electrical utility, while insulating you against the rising costs of electricity in the future.
And with state incentives plus the generous federal income tax credit (ITC), solar installations can pay for themselves very quickly. With the ITC, you can get almost a third of the cost of your system back via reduced tax bill within the first year of installation!
And if you're financing solar, the savings on your electricity bills may be more than the cost of a loan payment.
There's something incredibly liberating about generating your own power. You rely less on the utility, and more on yourself. With your own small “power plant," you're in control.
With the addition of energy storage, you can achieve an even higher level of independence, storing energy from the sun for later use, and providing backup power in the event of a utility outage.
In a larger sense, you're also declaring independence from dirty and dangerous fuels that can destabilize both our ecology and economy.
Financial savings and payback are certainly important when considering solar. But the environmental benefits of solar are also critical!
Although renewables are penetrating the market rapidly, most electricity is still sourced from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas. These fuels emit toxic greenhouse gases when burned for energy. Research has shown that if the health and environmental impacts of coal were factored into the price, coal would be more costly than solar as a power source—even if the coal itself was free! And fracking for natural gas is also shown to worsen climate change and pollute groundwater.
If all of that concerns you, going solar is a very real way to take action. As an Arizona resident, you reduce our carbon footprint locally by going solar. Arizona typically gets more than one-fourth of its net electricity generation from nuclear power. Coal-fired power plants provide two-fifths of the state's net generation. Natural gas fuels another one-fourth, and hydroelectric generation provides the balance. In Tucson, about 90% of our electricity comes from coal and natural gas.
We're proud to be a part of shifting that equation.
Solar power is produced typically just feet away from where it is going to be used. This is more efficient than sending electricity great distances over power lines, which causes energy loss as the power travels. Centralized distribution is a traditional model, but a less reliable way to produce power. As your own “power plant," you don't need to get your energy from miles away.
If you produce excess and send it back to the grid, it goes first to power nearby homes or buildings, serving neighboring customers' loads, also promoting efficiency.
A solar system is an investment. And it pays not only in immediate offset of your electric bill, but by increasing the value of your home. Numerous studies show that homes with solar electric systems have higher resale values, and sell faster.
Solar is a truly unique investment, because it not only increases real property value and curb appeal—it does so without raising your property taxes! Furthermore, it actually generates energy and reduces your costs.
Can you think of any other home improvement you could make that would increases its value that much—and produce power and offset energy expenses? (We've never seen a bathroom remodel that generated power and raised home value on an actual real-dollar basis!)
Several studies found that home buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for homes with owned solar energy systems.
In 2015, the Lawrence Berkeley Labs study update showed average increase in home value to be about $4 per watt of solar electric capacity installed. This was true across states, housing markets, solar markets, and home types. Their previous findings in 2013 showed that, in the California market, every kW of solar equaled nearly $6,000 in added property value.
The Institute for Market Transformation's “What is Green Worth?" study found that a house with solar sold for a price between $17,000 and $36,500 higher than a house without solar.
Finally, if you're financing solar, the savings on electricity bills may offset your loan payment.
Not only is the sun a completely unlimited energy source, but solar is a relatively sustainable industry. Of course, all manufacturing and technology has a footprint. But as industry goes, solar has a relatively small impact.
Solar modules are made primarily of silicon, which is the second most abundant element on earth. Plus, solar panels are low-maintenance and long-lasting, and they make constructive use of otherwise unused space. They're also recyclable when they have exhausted their long life. They can actually be used to make new solar panels!
While most modules (including those we use) are warrantied for 25 years, research shows that many systems installed in the 1970s are still producing more than 80% of their rated power.
The carbon emissions from manufacturing solar modules are typically offset within the first one to two years of usage. And a solar module's lifecycle emissions are minuscule compared with the emissions that a solar power system offsets. The lifetime carbon savings of an average (5-7 kW) system is at least 150 metric tons—around 30 times greater than its carbon cost!