Q & A with a Solar Coach


How much does PV cost?

The cost of a system depends on your energy usage, goals, rooftop area and your pocketbook. Knowing how much energy you use for the past 12 months is used to size a system to meet the majority of your energy needs. If you can become more energy efficient and use less energy the size of PV system you may need can be smaller, cheaper and a better investment. Talking with your Solar Coach can help you understand the size and cost of system you may need.


How much PV do I need?

This also depends on your energy use, needs, and goals. Most folks aim for a PV system that will offset 100% of the energy they currently are buying from their utility company. Your situation may be different. I can help you determine what is best for you, your family and your particular needs.


I’ve heard about solar water heaters. Is that a reliable source to heat my water, and how much does it cost?

Solar Hot water systems are a great way to heat water, which can represent about 10% - 15% of your electric bill. It’s relatively inexpensive especially when you compare their costs to electric or gas fired water heaters. With any solar energy system it’s important to look not only at the up front cost but also at the cost savings over the life of the system. When you compare these costs against what you pay your gas or electric company to heat your water, the significant savings and other benefits become crystal clear!


Does APS buy kWh’s back from me? / Does APS pay me for the excess energy my solar system might produce?

In most cases residential customers installing PV system will use ‘net metering’. What this means is that when your system is producing more energy than you need, the excess goes back into the electric grid through the same meter you buy energy through. This results in a credit for your excess kilowatt-hours (kWh) sent back to the grid. The key to this is sizing the system so you are creating enough kWh’s to offset the kWh’s you’ll be buying from the utility company at night, or when your system is not creating as much energy as you need at that time.


I heard you could lease solar. Is a solar lease better than buying?

Great question! Leasing or buying really depends on the size of system, its cost and the cost of the lease. For many families this is the easiest and cheapest way to purchase a PV system. The leasing company owns the equipment but YOU own the energy. Also, it depends on your pocketbook and energy goals, how long you’ll plan to stay in the home etc. We can discuss this in your Solar Coach session.


Where can I get financing/how do I pay for my system?

Some banks and credit unions offer short-term loans for both PV and Solar Hot Water systems.


Which installer should I hire?

Since we are an unbiased source of information we don’t recommend specific installers or manufacturers, but we will provide guidance in finding a Qualified Solar Installer. We’ll also help you ask the right questions and help you review your quotes so you can make and informed decision that is right for your family.


How do I apply for the APS rebate?

Applying for the APS rebate is very easy. You can do it right on the APS website. It takes about 15-30 minutes to complete.


Can I install a bigger system?

Yes, you can install a larger system than you may need to create 100% of your home’s previous year’s usage. Your Solar Coach can guide you through understanding how this works; and what the cost differences and economic and environmental benefits may be.


It seems that solar technology is changing rapidly; should I wait for more efficient panels before I install?

New breakthroughs in equipment or technology usually take some time to reach the consumer market. Current PV and Solar Hot Water technologies have been in use for many years—they are proven, reliable and available now. Your Solar Coach can help you understand what’s available.


Find out some of the most common questions people ask when thinking about solar in the FAQ below.