Arizona utility APS has launched a new program, APS Solar Communities, to make renewable energy more accessible. Designed specifically for limited- and moderate-income customers, APS Solar Communities approved participants agree to have a rooftop solar system installed at no cost. Customers then begin receiving a monthly $30 bill credit from APS while contributing to the company’s 50 percent clean-energy portfolio. APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean, safe and reliable electricity.
APS is collaborating with Arizona-based solar installers Arizona Solar Concepts, Discover Energy Solutions, Harmon Solar, Sunny Energy and Southface Solar on this program to put rooftop solar systems on qualifying customers’ residences. The systems will be maintained by APS – an approach modeled on the APS Solar Partner program and designed during the company’s 2016 rate review process. Participating single-family residential customers will receive $360 per year in monthly bill credits for 20 years, saving $7,200 per household during the life of the program.
“Our customers, community and economy, deserve innovative energy programs, and that’s exactly what Solar Communities delivers,” said Marc Romito, APS Director of Customer Technology. “With an investment of $10 million to $15 million per year for the next three years, we look forward to seeing some of our customers, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to solar, receive the benefits of renewable energy.”
The Solar Communities program will install solar systems on single-family houses with west- and 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.
“The solar panels installed under this program will be facing southwest and west to produce energy when customers need it most,” said Kent Walter, APS Manager of Customer Technology. “This program also will help us conduct research on integrating more renewable energy without compromising reliability. Solar Communities creates an option for more customers to go solar, while generating new projects for our local installation partners bringing positives on many levels.”
To qualify for APS Solar Communities, single-family households must be certified limited-income (at or below 200 percent of federal poverty level), or moderate-income (below 100 percent of median household income in Arizona). Other qualifying factors include roof size, orientation and structural integrity to accommodate a system. The size of residential systems will range from 4 to 8 kilowatts.
— Solar Builder magazine