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Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Incentives for solar panel installation on your home.

UES offers incentive payments for residential photovoltaic (PV) systems to encourage the installation of solar power. Up-front incentives are available for grid-tied systems up to 30 kW DC.

Solar power for your home.

Solar PV systems are best suited for areas that receive high amounts of sunshine like Arizona. Solar PV systems have specific installation and location requirements. They are impacted by shading, horizontal tilt angle, and azimuth. These factors impact the amount of solar energy reported by UES and the incentive amount received by the customer.

Is solar generation right for me?

    There are a variety of factors to consider in deciding to install a solar PV system on your property:
  • Local building codes
  • Availability of sunlight
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Cost of other alternative energy options

What are the benefits of solar power?

  • Produces no emissions and is replenished naturally
  • Reduces greenhouse gases
  • Saves the release of 2 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced
  • Saves the use of one-half gallon of water for each kWh of solar energy produced
  • Saves the release of other emissions that result from the burning of fossil fuels such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide or mercury
  • Makes use of one of Arizona’s greatest natural resources – sunshine
  • Provides customers with options to reduce their electric bills

What incentives are available to UES customers?

UES offers 20-year up-front incentives (UFIs) for PV systems (see Table 1).

Table 1. Maximum incentives for PV systems.

UFI1 — 20-Year REC Agreement
Grid-tied $0.10 per DC watt
  1. An up-front incentive (UFI) provides customers a one-time payment based on their system size. In turn the customer signs a credit purchase agreement assigning UES the renewable energy credits for 20 years.
Note: To qualify for the UFI your PV system must have at least a 20-year manufacturer's warranty.

Projects receiving a UFI can receive no more than 50% of the system cost in the total incentive payout. Also, UES incentives in combination with all federal and state credits can be no more than 85% of total project costs. A customer must cover at least 15% of total project costs.

Customers may qualify for federal and state tax credits to further reduce the cost of the system. Talk with a tax professional about current tax credits available to you for a renewable energy system. You can also view federal and state tax credits at dsireusa.org.

Who is eligible for the incentives?

  • You must be a UES customer.
  • The photovoltaic system must be installed at a UES service address.
  • You must purchase and install a qualifying PV system for this incentive.

Ready to sign up for solar PV incentives?

  • Contact a licensed solar installer for an estimate.
  • Your installer, or yourself if self-installing, will fill out and submit an application for your system.
  • A UES representative will review your application to ensure it conforms to program requirements.
  • Following review of your application, UES will notify you of the status of your reservation request.

Enroll

REST FAQs

Learn more about the Renewable Energy Standard Tariff.

How do I find a qualified solar PV installer?

View a list of PV installers operating in UES service territories. We recommend that customers meet with at least two installers. Evaluate each contractor's experience and consider other factors. Do they have any unresolved complaints, judgments or liens? Will they provide a list of references?

The installer or contractor installing your system must have a license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors that authorizes them to install the kind of photovoltaic system that you purchase. This is necessary to receive an incentive under the Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Program (RECPP).

UES also requires the installer to possess an Arizona business license that is active and in good standing.

How big of a system would I need to meet most of my energy needs?

We recommend contacting more that one solar contractor for an estimate or evaluation of your energy needs. Many factors must be considered in sizing a system to meet your needs. If you are a current customer of UniSource Energy Services (UES), with a full year of consumption history, we can give you an approximate idea of what size system you would need. We recommend sizing a system to around 80 percent of your annual usage, not to exceed 100 percent of your annual average consumption amount.

How will I know if my application is accepted and when can I give my contractor the OK to start?

Completed customer applications and the Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Agreements are reviewed by UES. Customers who are accepted into the program will receive an acceptance letter in the mail. Once the customer receives the acceptance letter, the installation can begin.

A City or County building permit is required for all residential systems and a copy of permit must be on file with UES within 60 days of application acceptance or application will be cancelled. Your installer will arrange for the installed system to be inspected by City or County officials. Once proof of that inspection has been submitted, UES will conduct a final system acceptance inspection. Once a system passes the final inspection, UES will process the customer's incentive payment.

How long do I have to install my system after I receive my acceptance letter from UES?

You have 180 days to have the system installed. Please contact us if you are not able to install the system within 180 days.

Can my incentive payment be assigned directly to my installer?

Yes, just complete the Assignment of Payment section on the Residential Solar PV application.

Are there any available State and Federal Tax Incentives*?

A residential state tax credit of up to $1,000 is available, based on 25 percent of the cost of solar equipment and installation.

A federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of solar equipment and installation is available, with no cap on the tax credit.

* Please consult with a tax expert regarding eligibility requirements for State and Federal tax credits.

What can I expect from my system?

Expected system output: For every 1 kW (1000 watts of DC power generated) an estimated 130 to 150 kWh will be produced monthly (approximately $15.00 monthly). This figure is a rough estimate and is dependent on a variety of factors such as weather conditions and time of the year.

What is UES looking for when they come out and inspect my system?

The UES Inspector is checking to ensure that all System Qualifications are met and that all applicable local codes are in compliance.

How will I know if my system is working properly?

By reading the meter daily and deducting the current read from the previous day's read. Most inverters have a digital readout display. We recommend monitoring your system periodically.

What do I do if I want to add an additional system or increase my present system size?

Provided your inverter is large enough to safely handle the increased wattage of additional modules, and the increased DC wattage is at or above 1200 watts, a new application is required.

If I am connected to the power grid and the power goes out (a UES power outage), will I still have power to run my air conditioner and refrigerator?

No, when the grid goes down, your inverter is programmed to shut the system down. This insures your system will not feed back into the electric grid system and cause injury to any UES employees working on power lines.

What happens if my solar contractor is unable to get the panels or inverter that we listed on our application and we have to substitute with another wattage or manufacturer?

We realize that in today's solar market, what is ordered is sometimes not available. We will work with you or your contractor and accept like substitutes providing they meet all of the requirements of our system specifications.

All Systems

  • All systems shall be installed with a horizontal tilt angle between 10 degrees and 60 degrees, and an azimuth angle of +/- 100 degrees of due south. Installation configurations for some systems receiving a UFI will not be eligible for the full RECPP incentive.
  • A system must include a dedicated performance meter (on grid-tied systems, supplied by UES) to allow for monitoring of the amount of electricity produced.
  • Photovoltaic modules must be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty of at least 20 years.
  • Inverters must be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty of at least ten years to receive a UFI.

Grid-Tied Systems

  • All photovoltaic modules must be certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory as meeting the requirements of UL Standard 1703.
  • All other electrical components must be UL listed.
  • The inverter must be certified as meeting the requirements of IEEE-1547 — Recommended Practice for Utility Interface of Photovoltaic Systems — and it must be UL 1741 certified.
  • The utility meter, inverter, and utility disconnect will be installed in a location readily accessible by UES during normal business hours.

New Installer's Packet

Find the latest information for installers, including changes in program requirements, technical information and more.

Next Steps

  1. Contact a licensed solar installer for an estimate. Please refer to the AZROC website.
  2. Meet with your installer to complete all included reservation packet documents. The installer is responsible for submitting the appropriate application for your system.
  3. UES will review your online application and the reservation packet, to ensure it conforms to program requirements.
  4. UES will respond with a reservation confirmation letter. The letter will be mailed direct to the customer within 30 days upon receipt of properly completed reservation packet and online application.
  5. For solar hot water and space heating applications, the installer must provide copies of jurisdictional approved final inspection paperwork to UES.
  6. The installer will need to notify UES that installation is complete and ready for incentive processing by submitting the certificate of completion to UES.
  7. UES, at their discretion, will perform an acceptance test to verify system performance.
  8. Incentive payments are processed within 30 days of receipt of the certificate of completion and acceptance test – provided all company documents have been received.
  9. UES is assigned exclusive rights to all Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) associated with the project for 20 years.

Forms

Online Residential Solar Application

Up-Front Incentive Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Agreement (Leased Residential Grid-Tied Solar PV)

Up-Front Incentive Renewable Energy Credit Purchase Agreement (Residential Grid-Tied Solar PV)

Non-Incentive Grid-Tied Residential Solar Electric PV Application

Non-Incentive Grid-Tied Residential Solar Electric PV Lease Application

Grid-Tied Residential Solar Electric Solar PV Application

Grid-Tied Residential Solar Electric Solar PV Lease Application

Supplemental Program Information

Installer's Meeting

PV Angle Chart

Service Requirements

Building Inspection Form

Assignment of Payment

Installation Certification

W9 Form