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Paid to go solar: What APS customers are really signing up for

Posted: 6:59 AM, Jul 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-15 15:33:36-04
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CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. — How about getting paid to put solar panels on your home?

Frank in Chino Valley let me know one Arizona company is doing just that. But he wants to know what he is really signing up for.

He received an offer from Arizona Public Service (APS) to participate in the company's Solar Communities Program.

In an email to Let Joe Know, he asks if it's "a fair offer, or am I being taken advantage of" and wants to know "should I go ahead with this offer?"

That depends on what you call fair.

APS says the program gives limited-income customers access to rooftop solar panels which are installed at no cost to them. Residential customers get $30 off their monthly power bill for participating.

But you don't own the panels, and the power they produce doesn't directly power your home. All equipment and energy generated belongs to APS and goes immediately into the grid for the company's use.

Customers are essentially being offered $30 a month for the chance to help generate solar energy by renting your roof to APS.

For the program, limited income ranges from a maximum monthly income of $2,977 for a one-person household to $8,416 monthly income for a family of 11, and various thresholds in between.

Read more about the program here.

A spokesperson tells me of the 1166 customers that have been approved since the inception of the program in 2018, 361 have completed installation. We asked the utility to quantify how much power the panels have generated, but that number was not available in time for publication of our story.

Here's some of what you agree to:

  • Not to install any other solar equipment without APS' consent
  • Unrestricted access to your roof for maintenance and repairs
  • House the panels on your roof for 20 years
  • A 90 day written notice if you or APS decides to have the panels removed before the 20-year mark

APS services 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, according to its website.