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Arizona’s Top Home Solar Power Cities

Among the arid deserts spreading out across the southwestern U.S., California seems to get all the credit for home solar power. But just east of SoCal and north of our vecino amistoso to the south lies sun-drenched Arizona. A land of stunning cliffs, high plateaus and a canyon that could swallow the state of Rhode Island (in two bites).

For all its majestic beauty and abundant sunshine, the state of Arizona does very little to help its citizens go solar. All residents of Arizona do share the right to a 25% tax credit on their home solar power system, but only up to $1,000. Now, Arizona may be the Grand Canyon State, but a grand won’t buy much of a home solar power system.

So the fate of solar power in Arizona is largely left to more local entities, primarily utility companies. If you’re a solar enthusiast, this lack of uniformity makes some Arizona cities better to live in than others. Luckily, however, enough utilities are pushing home solar power that our Arizona readers shouldn’t have far to move.

Here are the standout solar cities in Arizona:

Phoenix

The greater Phoenix area, specifically Tempe, is home to the headquarters of First Solar, the largest thin-film solar manufacturer in the world. As a matter of fact, most of Phoenix’s solar industry revolves around home solar power installations, thanks mostly to two utilities competing with each other in a race to meet Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard (something valuable the state has done). The Salt River Project (SRP) offers a $2.70 per watt DC rebate on home solar power systems, with a maximum of $13,500. Arizona Public Service, a private company, offers $3/watt DC for grid-tie systems and get this, $2/watt for off-grid systems up to 5 kW.

Tucson

There are two utilities in the greater Tucson area as well. Tuscon Electric Power (TEP) and Trico Electricity Cooperative offer $3/watt and $4/watt, respectively, on residential solar systems. TEP also offers $2/watt for off-grid systems.

Tucson also has a green building initiative in place for which home solar power systems are eligible. Homeowners building with photovoltaic or thermal solar power are eligible for the city of Tucson’s permit fee credit, which entitles them to a maximum $1,000 refund of permit fees for the installation of a qualifying home solar power system. Plan review fees still apply.

Sierra Vista

Residents of Sierra Vista and surrounding communities who are lucky enough to fall under the electric shadow of the Sulphur Springs Valley Electrical Cooperative enjoy some health home solar power incentives. First of all, you get a whopping $4/watt DC rebate for up to 50% of the project costs. And you may be eligible for a low-interest loan for up to 25% of the remaining costs. Add the $1,000 state rebate and the 30% federal tax credit and homeowners in Sierra Vista must be feeling pretty good about their chance for home solar power.

Other Notables

Other notable Arizona cities are Scottsdale and Buckeye, both of which have Green Building Initiatives that involve solar homes, though they’re limited to free “green home” yard signs, expedited plan review and certification.

If you’re a resident of Arizona but don’t find your city or utility listed here, there’s no need to fret yet. Check the DSIRE website for those utilities not counted here, as well as more detailed information on those that are. And get on your state and local representatives to offer a little more cash to their solar-hungry denizens.

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