New APS project brings solar panels to limited-income customers

There’s one thing Arizona has in abundance: sunlight. The solar power industry is growing in the state and solar panels are popping up more and more frequently. Now, APS is offering a section of its customer base an opportunity to install solar roof panels at no cost, benefiting both customer and company.

At no cost to the customer, APS will install solar roof panels for limited-income and moderate-income customers and give those customers a $30 a month break on their bill. The program contributes to the company’s 50-percent clean-energy portfolio.

APS Solar Communities is a new program from the energy company that aims to plug renewable energy into all customer homes, not just those with the financial freedom to do so. APS is promoting the new project alongside Arizona-based solar installers Arizona Solar Concepts, Discover Energy Solutions, Harmon Solar, Sunny Energy and Southface Solar.

“APS Solar Communities allows us to continue increasing our 50 percent clean energy mix and is another great example of APS’s commitment to taking a leading role in advancing Arizona’s solar leadership,” says Maggie Gibbs, APS Solar Communities Project Manager. “Additionally, we are collaborating with Arizona-based solar installers for this program which helps maintain solar jobs in Arizona, benefiting the state’s economy.”

The solar panel systems will be maintained by APS, something modeled on the company’s Solar Partner program from 2016. Single-family residential customers will receive $360 per year in monthly bill credits for the next 20 years, saving more than $7,000 per household over the course of the program.

“APS is always looking for innovative ways to expand our clean-energy portfolio. The APS Solar Communities program is one we developed in collaboration with dozens of stakeholders during our 2016 Rate Review approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) and is an example of how that kind of cooperation among diverse parties, including limited-income advocates and solar industry representatives, leads to good things for customers,” adds Gibbs.

APS, which serves about 2.7 million people in 15 counties throughout the state, is investing anywhere between $10 million and $15 million in the initiative over the next three years. The main goal is to advance clean energy while giving those on limited incomes access to energy- and cost-saving solar infrastructure.

The program will focus on single-family homes with southwest- and west-facing roofs to maximize on sun harnessing. These angles offer the greatest potential to produce energy, especially in late-afternoon and early-evening peak hours.

The program is also an opportunity for APS to conduct research on producing more reliable renewable energy. Those who want to get in on the APS Solar Communities project need to qualify as single-family households with limited income (at or below 200 percent of federal poverty level), or moderate-income (below 100 percent of median household income in Arizona). APS will also look at roof size and structural integrity of the home. Residential systems will range from 2 to 8 kilowatts.

Nick Esquer

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