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Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona

Going Green in Arizona: The Economics of Solar Panel Installation

Key Details

  • Cost of Solar Panels in Arizona ranges from $2.50 to $2.65 per watt, with tax credit options.
  • Solar Panel Costs in Arizona are 17-47% lower than the national average.
  • A state-provided 25% Solar Energy Credit is available for Arizonians.
  • Number of Solar Panels Needed depends on energy needs and panel wattage.
  • Running a House Solely on Solar Panels is possible with the right number of batteries

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Arizona?

In Arizona, solar panels cost $2.50 to $2.65 per watt for residential installations. A 5 and 6 kilowatt (kW) installation ranges from $12,500 to $13,250 for the 5kW and $15,000 to $15,900 for the 6kW.

Applying the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) brings these amounts to $8,750 to $9,275 for a 5kW solar installation and $10,500 to $11,130 for a 6kW solar system.

How to get the Federal solar tax credit.jpg

The solar installation cost in Arizona per watt is 17- 47% lower than the national average of $3 to $5 per watt. In addition, Arizona solar panel costs up to 10.58 cents per kilowatt hour, lower than the retail cost of electricity in Arizona, which is 15.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

Note: Arizonans typically need a higher capacity solar panel system installed because of an above-national average use of energy of over 1,040kWh per month to the national average of 890kWh.

Average Solar Panel Cost in Arizona

Size Solar Panel Cost System Cost After Solar Credit Home Size
3 kW $7,500 - $7,950 $5,250 - $5,656 700 sq ft
5 kW $12,500 - $13,250 $8,750 - $9,275 900 sq ft
8 kW $20,000 - $21,200 $14,000 - $14,840 1,100 sq ft
9 kW $22,500 - $23,850 $15,750 - $16,695 1,300 sq. ft.
11 kW $27,500 - $29,150 $19,250 - $20,405 1,700 sq ft
13 kW $32,500 - $34,450 $22,750 - $24,115 2,100 sq ft
14 kW $35,000 - $37,100 $24,500 - $25,970 2,300 sq ft
15 kW $37,500 - $39,750 $25,250 - $27,825 > 2,400 sq ft

Arizonians also have access to a state-provided 25% solar energy credit for buying and installing solar panels.

Solar Panel Installation: Is it Better to Lease or Buy in Arizona?

As a resident of Arizona, your decision to buy or lease solar panels depends on factors such as your finances, energy consumption, and personal preferences. Buying or leasing offer varying benefits. Some of these include:

Pros of buying Solar Panels:

  • Buying grants you access to incentives like the 30% federal credit, which further drives down your upfront costs of ownership
  • Buying provides long-term savings as it reduces your energy consumption bill as you can reduce your reliance on the local electricity grid
  • Buying provides the lowest path to ownership
  • You do not need a credit check or good credit

Cons of buying solar panels:

  • Buying solar panels involves the highest upfront solar panel costs in Arizona
  • You bear all maintenance-related Arizona solar panel costs

Pros of leasing solar panels:

  • Leasing solar panels reduces the upfront solar installation cost in Arizona to get the panels.
  • You can get the angels now while the payment is spread over time for you to continue to pay monthly
  • You do not have to pay for maintenance as your leasing company handles this

Cons of leasing solar panels:

  • While you can get the panels cheaper to start, they will cost more over time
  • They also cost more as you do not have access to federal tax breaks when you procure panels through a lease
  • You ultimately do not own the solar panels

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need in Arizona?

The number of solar panels you need in Arizona depends on several factors such as your energy needs, the power rating (wattage) of the solar panels you buy, and the production ratio of your solar panel system.

solar panel cost (10).jpg

Other factors that influence how many solar panels you need in Arizona include your geographical location, hours of sunlight, the efficiency of the solar panel, rated power, and your energy consumption patterns.

To calculate the number of solar panels you need, you need to divide your annual electricity consumption by your area’s production ratio and then divide the answer by the power output of your solar panels. You can figure out your home's electricity use from your previous electricity utility bills. You require your kilowatt hour (kWh) consumption for the year.

The average Arizona household uses 12,480kWh per year. (1,040kWh monthly).

Using the popular solar panel size capacity of 400 watts, and an average production ratio of 1.5, the number of panels can be calculated as 12,480kWh / 1.5 * 400, which is 21 solar panels.

Twenty one 400-watt solar panels provide a system size of 8,400 W or 8.4kW. Smaller capacity solar panels at 250 watts to 300 watts in the same power usage scenario will be calculated as below:

  • 250 watts solar panels = 12,480kWh / 1.5 * 250 watts = 34 solar panels
  • 300 watts solar panels = 12,480kWh / 1.5 * 300 watts = 28 solar panels
  • 350 watts solar panels = 12,480kWh / 1.5 * 350 watts = 24 solar panels

The size of your home roof is also a factor in your solar panel installation. A small and unusually shaped roof may require you to go for higher-wattage solar panels to reduce the number you need on your roof. Alternatively, a large roof gives you the freedom to be uninhabited in your choice of wattage and the number of solar panels.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for a 3-bedroom House?

The average 3-bedroom house in Arizona, has a floor area of about 1,614 square feet. This floor size amounts to a solar panel system size of about 11kW.

Depending on the size of the solar panels, you require the system size divided by the wattage of the solar panels to determine how many you need. The calculations below show how many solar panels you need for 250 watts to 400 watts solar panel systems.

  • For 250 watts: 11kW = 11,000 watts / 250 = 44 solar panels
  • For 300 watts: 11kW = 11,000 watts / 300 = 37 solar panels
  • For 350 watts: 11kW = 11,000 watts / 350 = 31 solar panels
  • For 400 watts: 11kW = 11,000 watts / 400 = 28 solar panels

Your energy consumption habits influence the number of solar panels you need. Your consumption can make your solar panel needs higher or lower than the average.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need for a 4-bedroom House?

The average 4-bedroom house in Arizona has a floor area of 1,788 square feet. This translates to an appropriate solar panel system size of about 12kW.

The output capacity of the solar panel you buy will now determine the number of solar panels you need. You calculate the number of panels by dividing the solar panel system size by the capacity of solar panels as in the calculations below:

  • For 250 watts: 12kW = 12,000 watts / 250 = 48 solar panels
  • For 300 watts: 12kW = 12,000 watts / 300 = 40 solar panels
  • For 350 watts: 12kW = 12,000 watts / 350 = 35 solar panels
  • For 400 watts: 12kW = 12,000 watts / 400 = 30 solar panels

Do all Solar Panels Produce the Same Energy?

All solar panels do not produce the same energy in the same use scenario. Most consumer solar panels designed for home installation are rated with different wattage (power rating) and produce energy typically from 250 to 400 watts.

Solar panels efficiency is another factor that differentiates solar panels. The difference in their efficiency means that they do not produce the same energy even when rated the same. The average efficiency of solar panels ranges from 15 - 20 percent.

For example, Tesla solar panels in Arizona have an estimated efficiency of 19 - 20% (as of 2022). Panels with higher efficiency will produce higher energy compared to ones with lower efficiency.

Solar panels tend to produce less energy as their temperature increases. This loss of energy per 1 degree Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase is called the temperature coefficient.

Monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline solar panels have a temperature coefficient greater than that of thin-film solar panels: (-0.3% / degrees Celsius to -0.5% compared to -0.2% /degrees Celsius). Thin-film solar panels, therefore, do better in producing energy in some hotter environments when temperatures exceed 25 degrees centigrade (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

Which type of Solar Panel is best for Home Use in Arizona?

Monocrystalline panels in Arizona are the most efficient, but they cost more. Residents of Arizona can take advantage of Arizona’s high sun exposure to opt for a mix of efficiency and cost when choosing the type of solar panel best for home use in the Grand Canyon State.

Solar panels for consumer home uses come in different types depending on the type of silicon used. The most widely available are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film types. The more efficient solar panels are, the more expensive they will be.

The advantages and disadvantages of these three types of solar panels can be found below:

Pros of Monocrystalline Panels:

  • Has the highest efficiency rating of over 19%
  • A great choice for limited roof spaces. It produces the highest energy and reduces the number of panels needed
  • Black panel blends better with darker foliage and roofing

Cons of Monocrystalline Panels

  • Is the most expensive type
  • Can be slightly more inefficient during cold weather
  • Its production method is less sustainable

Pros of Polycrystalline Panels

  • Great choice when roof space is not a limitation
  • Less expensive than monocrystalline but with a comparable life span
  • It produces less waste during manufacturing

Cons of Polycrystalline Panels

  • Output can be easily affected by high temperatures
  • Less efficient than monocrystalline panels for energy production
  • Its blue color stands out more on buildings

Pros of Thin-film Panels

  • These provide the best affordability compared to the others
  • Lighter and great for portable uses like buses and RVs
  • Provides an inexpensive and easy installation

Cons of Thin-film panels

  • Have the least efficiency compared to other conventional panels
  • Are more suited for industrial and commercial uses and not residential uses
  • May contain probable carcinogens like cadmium

Can you Run a House Solely on Solar Panels in Arizona?

Yes, you can run a house solely on solar panels in Arizona. You will require enough solar panels to power your house and power backup in the form of batteries to store the extra electricity for when the sun is obstructed and at sundown.

Running your house on solar is possible because solar panels and batteries have gotten cheaper over time. To run a house solely on solar panels in Arizona, you need to:

  • Find out how much electricity you consume monthly on average: You need to find out how much electricity you consume monthly so your solar contractor can use this to determine your solar energy consumption requirements.
  • Evaluate the solar energy potential in your area in Arizona: Arizona, with three of the sunniest cities in the country, has good solar production capacity. However, you have to consider the proximity of other structures and large trees that can shade panels on your roof.

How Big of a Solar System do I need to go Off-Grid in Arizona?

Going off-grid in Arizona means complete disconnection of your home from the local electricity supply. You can do this by using electricity generated from solar systems.

You will also require a means to store the electricity generated by your solar panels, such as solar batteries. To determine how many solar panels you will need in Arizona, you need to:

  • Step 1 - Determine the amount of electricity you consume: You can find this out from previous utility bills. This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Let us use the monthly Arizona average of 1,040kWh.
  • Step 2 - Calculate the size of the solar panel system you will require: You will use the peak sunlight hours (6.5 for Arizona) multiplied by 30 days which equals 195. Then divide the monthly usage (1,040kWh) by 195, which gives a 5.3kW solar system.
  • Step 3 - Pick the type of solar panel you will be installing and know the solar energy capacity: For example, 400 watts of solar panels: 5.3kW is 5,300 divided by 400 to give 14 solar panels.
  • Step 4 - Calculate the area you will need to install the solar panels on your roof: Note that the average area for a 350-watt solar panel is 17.6 square feet. Fourteen solar panels will be 246.4 square feet.
System Size Number of Panels Estimated Space Estimated Cost.
3 kW 9 159 sq. ft. $7,950
5 kW 15 264 sq. ft. $13,250
8 kW 23 404 sq. ft. $21,200
9 kW 26 458 sq. ft. $23,850
11 kW 32 564 sq. ft. $29,150
13 kW 38 669 sq. ft. $34,450
14 kW 40 704 sq. ft. $37,100
15 kW 43 757 sq. ft. $39,750

Note: In the table above, solar panels are priced at $2.65 per watt, and 350-watt solar panels are used.