In 2016, solar panel installations grew by an impressive 95 percent in the United States, a trend that is expected to continue in 2017. Though there was consistent growth in solar nationwide, installations are increasing at an expedited rate in concentrated areas of the country. Arizona witnessed a 6% bump in solar job growth in 2016, and one of the main reasons for its latest success is the city of Tucson and its record low pricing. Tucson is quickly becoming one of the best cities for solar in America thanks to Arizona’s residential solar tax credit and the city of Tucson’s growing market competition that has led to nationwide lows for solar prices.
How much do solar panels cost in Tucson?
As of the end of 2016, the average cost of solar panels in Tucson was $3.03 per watt. Since the mean system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), that means the average price of a solar system in Tucson, AZ is $15,150 before incentives.
When you consider that this price does not even factor in the hefty ITC discount (30% off the system cost), it’s already clear that Tucson has some very attractive prices for solar. However, when you compare Tucson’s solar market to the rest of the country, the difference is staggering. Thanks to the added price reduction from Arizona’s state tax rebate, Tucson’s market shines above the rest of the country.
Solar pricing table: Tucson compared to national average cost
|System size||National average cost (after ITC)||Tucson average cost (after ITC and local credit)|
*Values in this table include the 30% discount from the Federal solar tax subsidy (ITC)
The above data table, which uses price data from solar quotes given to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace in 2016, offers a comparison of national and city level (Tucson) prices for solar. When you consider the fact that U.S. solar prices declined by 95% last year and are clearly on a favorable trajectory, it’s surprising to see Tucson’s still significant price advantage is upwards of $0.30 less on average. Tucson homeowners are paying several thousand dollars less than the rest of the country for solar panels thanks to Arizona’s competitive market.
How does Arizona’s residential solar tax credit work?
In addition to seeing some of the best solar prices in the country, Tucson homeowners qualify for Arizona’s state tax credit on top of the standard federal ITC discount. The state incentive is fairly simple: homeowners receive 25% of their system cost up to $1,000 which basically translates to an automatic $1,000 rebate for any Arizona homeowner that spends at least $4,000 on solar. Thus, when you compare the cost of a 5kW solar system on average in the U.S. to in Tucson, Arizona, homeowners see 20% lower prices – a sizable edge in terms of incentive to shop for solar.
How Tucson homeowners can save big with solar energy
Though the incredibly low upfront cost for solar in Tucson is a primary selling point, the long-term savings and ROI for solar in Tucson makes it even more attractive. Due to high electricity prices in the greater Tucson area, solar homeowners in the Grand Canyon State see some of the largest utility bill savings in the nation: in 2016, the solar quotes Tucson homeowners received on EnergySage yielded 20-year savings estimates of $38,906 on average.
However, what isn’t captured in that value is the impact you as an active solar shopper can have on your long term savings based on how much research you do and how well you know the market, bringing us to our…
Three tips for solar shoppers in Tucson, Arizona
When it comes to solar quotes, “the more the merrier”
Buying a solar panel system is a lengthy process that will and should include a lot of research. Amidst your decision-making process should be a thorough review of every option available to you and every installer that serves the Tucson area. Remember, Tucson has one of the most active markets in the U.S. – there are plenty of companies to consider.
In order to find the best solar contractors in Tucson that are not on billboards or in TV commercials, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. If you’d like to start getting quotes from Tucson installers today, register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3+ quotes can expect to save ten percent or more on their solar installation.
The biggest installer will not always qive you the best price
The “bigger isn’t always better” premise is one of the main reasons we strongly recommend that homeowners consider every option available to them. A recent report by NREL confirmed that large installers charge upwards of 10% more for a solar panel system than smaller installers quoting the same customers. Where the big companies face no pressure to keep prices low due to reduced competition, you can be certain that small companies quoting on EnergySage will offer low prices because they know they are competing for your business against many other contractors.
If you have quotes from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you upload those bids to EnergySage and compare them with quotes from local installers in your area to ensure you don’t overpay for solar. (Remember that the prices displayed in the above data tables reflect quotes received on EnergySage – prices from bigger installers are likely to be higher).
Comparing multiple equipment options is crucial
Just as big installers do not offer the best prices historically because they face reduced competition, they will also feel no pressure to offer a diverse selection of solar equipment – they may only offer one brand of solar panel and inverter. For this reason, it is imperative to get several solar bids so you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
Certain panels will have much higher efficiency ratings than others and depending on where you live in Tucson and the roof type you have, you may not need to pay more for premium equipment. There are many variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. Your roof may suit a more affordable economy solar panel – the only way to find out is to look at quotes that have different equipment and financing offers.
For any Tucson homeowner in the early stage of solar shopping that would just like a ballpark estimate for a solar installation, try our Solar Calculator which offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your own location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local installers today, check out our quote comparison platform.