After Rio Rico resident Joel Kramer saw the benefits of solar panels on nearby school district property, he learned that he, too, could buy some of the energy produced there for his home.

Through the Bright Arizona Community Solar program, UniSource customers can purchase solar power for their homes and businesses from solar arrays in the UniSource service area – including one at a Santa Cruz County school site.

Bright Arizona offers an easy and affordable way for customers to meet their electric needs with renewable energy without having to pay for and install rooftop panels. It also makes solar energy available to renters and those with shaded rooftops.

“We want to make it simple and accessible for our customers to participate in solar energy without large upfront costs or ownership concerns. The environmental benefits are appealing to many of our residents, and we want to help them achieve their goals,” said Anthony Lombardi, UniSource Senior Program Manager of Energy Services.

Customers can decide how much of their energy comes from UniSource solar resources by purchasing blocks. Each solar block includes 150 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and adds $3 to customers’ monthly electric bill. However, program blocks are exempt from two surcharges applied to other electric usage, reducing the impact on the bills. Customers also avoid annual adjustments to those charges, helping to manage costs.

The cost benefits appealed to Kramer, a member of the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District Governing Board.

“With the direction of energy costs, it seemed practical to participate in the program,” Kramer said. “The solar panels are located on district property, and I considered this to be part of my responsibility as an elected official and a member of the community.”

Kramer looked into installing solar panels on his home but determined the cost recovery would take too long.

Portions of five solar arrays, mostly in Santa Cruz and Mohave counties, are dedicated to the Bright Arizona program. If the program becomes fully subscribed, customers are placed on a waiting list until new local solar resources become available.

For more information and details, visit the Bright Arizona Community Solar program webpage.

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