Cost of solar panels in Arizona
How much is it to go solar in 2023?
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On average, a complete solar panel costs $21,011 in Arizona after the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).
Your out-of-pocket expenses will likely be more compared with other states. Arizona’s average household energy needs are quite high — 1,048 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month (the national average is 886 kWh). Still, a residential solar energy system usually pays for itself within 15 years.
- The average cost per watt is $2.44.
- Average payback periods range from 12 to 15 years.
- Over 25 years, the average savings is $23,891.
How much do solar panels cost in Arizona?
Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 to $30,000 or more, although individual costs vary significantly. In Arizona, you can get set up for less than $20,000 after rebates and incentives. On the higher end, Patrick in Tucson said his system cost $36,000, and Simin in Scottsdale paid over $40,000 for a large solar panel system.
The good news is the cost to go solar in Arizona has fallen 54% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“When solar first came out, it was very expensive,” Dawn in Mesa said. “But for the price we got, it's an easier sale.”
Average cost by system size in Arizona
|9 kW||12 kW||15 kW|
|Cost before federal tax credits||$23,490||$31,320||$39,150|
|Cost after federal tax credits||$16,443||$21,924||$27,405|
|Average home size||1,300 sq. ft.||1,900 sq. ft.||2,500 sq. ft.|
Are solar panels worth it in Arizona?
We’ve talked to hundreds of solar customers in Arizona, and most are satisfied with their decision to go solar.
Ray in Queen Creek installed 18 solar panels on his 2,706-square-foot single-unit home in 2022. He went through Sunrun, and the whole setup cost $14,000 after government incentives and Costco rebates.
When we followed up with Ray to ask about his savings since switching to solar, he said his system consistently generates more than 1,000 kilowatts (kW) per month — more than 50% of his energy needs.
Over 25 years, solar panels can save $23,891 in Arizona
As of July 2023, his electricity bill is down to about $100, even after 23 days of triple-digit temperatures — a significant reduction compared to his neighbor’s $600 bill. In the cooler months, his bill drops to less than $30 (he uses gas for heating and cooking).
“My neighbors can’t believe what I’m paying,” Ray said.
He told us about a few hiccups, such as reductions in government incentives, difficulties with HOA and county approvals, and the need to replace a couple of damaged panels. Despite these challenges, he emphasized solar energy's advantages, especially for Arizona.
His advice to other Arizonians going solar: Do your research, especially regarding the choice of solar panels and the warranties offered. He also recommends owning over leasing: “What happens if you lease, and you sell your home? It’s a pain in the butt — there are lots of issues.”
Cost factors of going solar in Arizona
The cost of hiring professionals to install your solar system varies based on on the size and complexity of the project. How much you pay for your solar panels depends on a range of factors, including the size of your system and the quality of your panels.
Solar panels are the most significant part of the overall expense, with the type, brand and efficiency affecting the overall price. Your total costs also include other necessary equipment, such as inverters, mounting and racking, and often monitoring systems or batteries for energy storage. Like almost anything else, quality equipment costs more, but the upfront expense is usually worth it.
Otherwise, you might have to pay for pricey upgrades in the future, which adds up quickly, especially if you have to replace a solar inverter. A solar reviewer in Peoria told us how frustrating this is after already spending “tens of thousands of dollars” on a system.
» COMPARE: Most efficient solar panels
Before installation, the company installing your system typically performs a site assessment to create a custom system. This helps determine the optimal solar system size for your energy needs.
Average peak sun hours in Arizona: 7-8
The number of solar panels you need depends on how much electricity your household uses. In Arizona, the average monthly energy consumption is 1,048 kWh, according to the Energy Information Administration.
No system is 100% efficient, so you must account for losses caused by shading, wiring and inverter efficiency.
Condition of your roof
Your roof needs to be in good enough condition to support solar panels as long as they last, which is usually around 25 years. If you have an older home, the roof might not be up to standards.
Solar panels typically last 25 years
A solar customer in Phoenix was understandably frustrated about having to replace their roof less than five years after installing panels. The process is expensive and time-consuming.
“It took them more than six weeks to get a crew out to uninstall the panels and another three-plus weeks of constantly calling to schedule the reinstall after the roof was replaced,” they said. “Not to mention that the removal and reinstall is costing me nearly $10,000 to get completed.”
The extra cost to do this can be frustrating. Another customer in Florence said, “To replace the roof, the panels have to come off and must go back on for a cost of $3,900 in addition to the cost of the roof.”
Local permitting fees can range from $150 to $600 in most places in Arizona. The permitting process will be different depending on where you live in Arizona. For instance, you can submit your permit online in Maricopa County and through an app in Oro Valley, but you have to deliver it to City Hall in El Mirage.
» GUIDE: Solar panel installation guide
How you pay
You can pay the full price upfront, but many people in Arizona finance solar panels. A solar loan works like any other type of loan — there’s an application and approval process, and you pay it back over time (with interest). If you finance, you need to consider the interest as part of your overall cost.
For example, a solar customer in Prescott Valley told us they are saving $40 on their electricity bill, but considering their loan payment is about $120, their total monthly payments went up by about $80. Solar loan terms typically last between eight and 20 years and come with interest rates as low as 1% to 2%.
|Upfront cost||Ongoing costs||Payback period||Estimated 25-year savings|
|Loan||Varies||Loan repayments (with interest)||15 years||$18,000|
Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in Arizona
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the biggest factor in reducing the cost of going solar in Arizona. If you install a residential solar panel system by the end of 2032, you can deduct 30% of the system's total cost — including equipment, labor and permits — from your federal taxes. The credit drops to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.
Average ITC value in Arizona is $4,392
Arizonans can take advantage of several other incentives, including a state tax credit and a property tax exemption for solar installations.
» MORE: Arizona solar incentives
Compare solar installation companies in Arizona
There are more than 350 solar companies in Arizona, including manufacturers, installers and developers, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Read our guide to finding the best solar companies to learn more.
|# of reviews||2,179||2,632||110||2,489||501|
|Payment options||Cash, lease, loan||Cash, lease, loan||Not disclosed||Cash, lease, loan||Cash, lease, loan|
|Warranty||25 years (system)||Varies by system||25+ years (product and labor)||Anywhere from 10-15 years||25 years (system)|
|Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
How does net metering work in Arizona?
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted to replace net metering with "net billing" in 2016. In a net billing setup, you’re credited for the excess electricity produced, but the credit is not necessarily at the full retail rate.
What does a solar inverter do?
Solar inverters are required to convert the DC electricity generated by your panels into usable AC electricity for your home. The type and capacity of the inverter can impact the installation costs.
Do solar panels require maintenance?
Can I install solar panels myself?
DIY solar panels are an option, but we don’t recommend it. DIY installation might be fine for small-scale projects, but it’s better to hire a professional for a residential or commercial system. If not installed correctly, solar panels pose safety risks, causing roof leaks and other problems.
» EXPLORE: Off-grid and hybrid alternatives
How long does it take to install solar panels?
Expect it to take at least a few months — or longer — from when you first contact a solar company to when you’re actually generating power.
“It almost takes a year to install the damn thing,” Ray in Queen Creek said, “because you have to have approval from the county, approval from SRP; approval from HOA took almost two months.”
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
- EcoWatch, “Solar Panel Cost in Arizona.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- Solar Energy Industries Association, “Arizona Solar.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), “Arizona Programs.” Accessed July 17, 2023.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “Average Monthly Bill, Residential.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- Maricopa County, “Go Solar For Residential Service.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- City of Phoenix, “Planning & Development Department Fee Schedule.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
- City of Scottsdale, “Permit Fee Schedule.” Accessed July 27, 2023.
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