Going Solar in Arizona

We have had our solar power system setup on our home in Phoenix for over three months now. Thats three months where we havent spent a dime on electricity and more importantly have reduced the amount of pollution in the air. Our installation was done by Cambio Energy a local company and good group of people. They set us up with an Enphase system which gives us monthly updates on our systems effectiveness.

One of the coolest features is the comparison of how much power we have created and how much pollution we have reduced. This image is a screen shot of what the Enphase website calculates for us:
Solar Energy Home Phoenix AZ Cambio Energy

Video Will Greene of Beyond Coal and Net Metering in Arizona

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This week I talked with Will Greene about Net Metering in Arizona and the commotion being made about it. Will is the Phoenix Organizing Representative of the Beyond Coal campaign being run by Sierra Club. He is currently working to motivate people to come out for two important meetings happening next week on November 13th and 14th.
We did a Google Hangout to discuss the events and how you can get involved:

The first meeting on November 13th at 9am is at the Arizona Corporation Commission building:
1200 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2996
This meeting will be to discuss the Net Metering policy for the state of Arizona. Currently APS has proposed changes to Net Metering that would help APS make more money but pretty much kill off the Rooftop Solar Industry in Arizona, which employs at least 10,000 people. In addition APS has been caught secretly funding Non-Profits that are creating advertisements that attempt to make non-solar customers thing solar customers are getting a free ride.
We are trying to get as many people to show up as possible at 9am to show a presence that the Commission will be hard pressed to ignore. If you live or work in the downtown Phoenix area you should call in sick or late and come take part in helping to ensure sustainable industry in Arizona will continue growing.
If you have time to stay longer you may have an opportunity to have your voice heard in front of the Commission.
There will be coffee and bagels!

The second meeting is on November 14th at 5pm at the Phoenix Convention Center and involved the EPA and haze over the Grand Canyon. The Phoenix Convention Center is located at 3rd Street and Washington.
Specifically this meeting is going to discuss whether or not the EPA should enforce the clean air laws on the Navajo Generating Station(NGS) near Page, Arizona. The NGS is the states largest polluter and is considered by many to be the cause of a haze in the skies over the Grand Canyon.
Show up at 5pm and stop by the Sierra Club booth for a free Beyond Coal t-shirt and then head into the meeting to give a brief statement about why clean air at the Grand Canyon and all of Arizona is important to you.

Podcast #13 – Dillon Holmes, Cambio Energy, and AZ Residential Solar

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This summer Kate and I decided it was time to get solar panels added to our home to eliminate our dependence on our utilities dirty energy. In Arizona residential solar tends to seem expensive but when you add up the costs and the savings its a 8 year return on investment and a massive reduction in your carbon footprint.

We talked with a lot of vendors. I posted a blog post and did our third podcast on the subject.

Eventually we met with Dillon Holmes the owner of Cambio Energy in Phoenix AZ and chose his company to install the system. In this podcast I talk with Dillon about growing up in Phoenix, going to U of A in Tucson, running a solar installation company, and current issues in the energy market.

Link Love:

Cambio Energy Inc
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Podcast Episode 3 – Arizona Home Solar System Market

Today I rant about the Arizona Home Solar System market. Kate and I are looking into adding Solar to our home to save some money and offset using fossil fuels to power our Air Conditioning. Along the way we have learned a whole lot about inverters and our power company’s, APS, attempt to mess everything up.

Buying Solar Panels for Home: How much should I pay?

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Hey people: Kate and I are considering having solar photovotalic panels added to the roof of our home in Phoenix Arizona. Not only is there a more than ample supply here it will make us that much better than everyone else by yet another level… =)

So far we have talked with Solar City which is a very professional organization but after reviewing things it does not seem that the Lease option is the best match for what we want. Besides the hassle of transferring the lease when we sell the house it is actually a much better deal to purchase and get the rebates and sell power back to APS at $0.10/watt.

Solar City is saying that based on our roof design they can only get 11 panels up there for about 2500 Watt of power. Based on that estimate we will definitely save on our already low electric bill.
The problem now is finding a contractor in Phoenix who has designed and installed Solar Panels for less than Solar City. From doing a quick survey of Home Depot’s website I see a 3kWatt system for just over $7k. After rebates that comes down significantly. So how much should I expect to pay someone to install some panels and then hook up the wiring?

Resources:
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
Should I buy or lease solar?
Opinionated page on Solar Leasing
Homeowner in PA who is making money on his system