Solar for your business
Commercial solar FAQ
By installing a solar electric system, you will be using clean, renewable energy to power your business, reducing your carbon footprint and helping to protect the environment. Depending on the design you use, you may be able to achieve kWh cost savings as well as peak load shaving. Costs and benefits will vary depending on your unique energy needs and system attributes.
Need help evaluating? Contact your SRP Strategic Energy Manager or the Business Customer Center at (602) 236-8833 weekdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a complimentary energy consultation. Our team of experts is here to work with you to develop a strategic, personalized action plan that meets your energy goals.
Because your business is connected to SRP's electric grid, you will continue to receive energy from SRP when there is no sunlight, or when the energy generated by your solar electric system is not enough to offset your energy usage.
Yes, you will still get an electric bill from SRP. There will be portions of the day when your system will not be able to produce energy due to lack of sun or when the energy generated by your solar system is not enough to offset your energy usage.
As long as you are connected to the energy grid, your business will still receive and be billed for energy from SRP as it did before you installed the solar energy system.
Interconnection costs and timeline
Costs and timeline will vary based on factors such as current electric service entrance facility; size, type, location and mounting of system; maintenance requirements; whether the system is leased or owned; and more. See our cost and timeline section for details.
If you have a non-inverter-based interconnection project, please contact an SRP solar representative at (602) 236-4663 to walk you through the process. Here is a general guideline for the interconnection process and associated fees:
|Project phase||Total AC kW size at site||Timeline||SRP fees|
SRP technical review of application package
|All sizes||80 business days||$15,000 minimum deposit*|
|Customer construction and city clearance||All sizes||Your costs and timeline will vary based on your project scope, installation, city requirements, etc.|
|SRP's final review after receiving city clearance||All sizes||5 business days||No fee|
|SRP commissioning||All sizes||5 business days||No fee|
*Actual study costs will apply; any remaining balance will be refunded or collected appropriately. Other requirements and costs may apply to non-inverter projects and for generating facilities greater than 1 MW in size.
Before you install
Before you begin, make an informed decision by assessing your energy goals, financial considerations and more.
If you've determined that a solar system will meet your energy needs, here are additional considerations:
- Contractor selection. As with many business improvement projects, success is largely dependent on choosing the right contractor. Get advice to help you make an educated choice. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
- System type. There are several different types of systems and associated costs, all of which can vary widely among contractors. We recommend researching the available system types to find the best one for your business.
- Maintenance. Solar electric systems will require ongoing maintenance, so know the system's recommended maintenance schedule and take these costs into consideration when selecting your system type.
- Panel location. Consider factors that will impact the sun's ability to shine on the panels, including shading from obstructions (such as trees), the tilt angle of the panels and the direction the panels are facing. For example, southern exposure may produce more energy, but western exposure may produce later in the day. Systems with multiple tilts or orientations can hinder production.
- Mounting. Please note that the method of mounting for some systems could impact roof warranties and insurance policies.
First, you need to consider how much of your total electricity usage you would like to be produced from a solar electric system. It is a good idea to have a 12-month usage history and an idea of when you use energy, since it is a real-time commodity.
Budget for both the solar electric system and your remaining electricity bill. A solar contractor can help you select a system that will meet your business needs as well as our requirements.
See our power factor guide to better understand power factor and impacts from distributed generation.
Typically, solar electric systems produce 1,700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, per kilowatt (kW) rating of the system. For example, a 50 kW system can produce up to 85,000 kWh per year.
System output will ultimately vary depending on the type of components installed and the system's orientation in relation to the sun. You may want to consider reducing total output for other benefits such as power factor correction or offsetting peak power use.
The typical roof space required for a solar electric system is approximately 100 square feet per kW-DC rating of the system. For example, a 50 kW system will require 5,000 square feet of unobstructed roof space.
The amount of roof space required may vary depending on the type of solar panel installed and its tilt angle. Additionally, fire code regulations in some jurisdictions require specific easements for safe passage of firefighters.
With proper maintenance, most systems should last at least 20 years. Your contractor should provide you with a comprehensive maintenance plan based on the manufacturer's recommendation for your system type.
State and federal tax credits may be available. The third-party websites below provide tax credit information. SRP makes no representations or warranties with respect to any information provided by third parties.
SRP does not provide tax advice and recommends that you contact your tax professional with any further questions on tax credits and whether you are eligible to take advantage of them.
A lease is a legal obligation and long-term contract. Before deciding to enter into a contract, you should review the contract in detail to determine if the requirements within the contract align with your expectations, both financially and as they relate to what you hope to get out of your solar electric system. SRP does not provide legal advice and recommends consulting with your legal advisor.
Here are some things to consider and ask:
- Does this make financial sense? Analyze potential long-term cost savings in light of system expenses. Make sure you take the anticipated system production into consideration along with your most recent 12-month usage history. This should give you an indication of how potential savings will be impacted by the cost of the system, remaining electricity costs and any additional costs such as maintenance.
- How long will you stay at your current location? A solar lease can be a long-term agreement (20 years or more in many cases). Be sure to understand the financial impacts that will result if you relocate or terminate the lease early. Some leases may prohibit or impose a fee for early termination. The lease should specify your obligations in the event your business relocates, closes or changes ownership.
- What are your obligations as they relate to operating and maintaining the system? Typically, if you purchase your system, all maintenance responsibility and costs are yours. Lease agreements should specify who is ultimately responsible for operating and maintaining the system. Make sure you understand your obligations and the costs associated with those obligations. Ask these important questions:
- If your system needs repair, who pays for it?
- Are you responsible for insurance and, if so, how much will that cost?
- If the system isn't working for some period of time, are you still responsible for the lease or other payments?
- What happens when the lease term ends? Know who is responsible for removing the system at the end of the lease term or if there is a cost to buy the equipment if you choose to keep it. You also need to understand who will be responsible for any associated roof repairs if the system is removed.
At a minimum, your solar electric system must have the following warranties to qualify for SRP's solar program:
- Modules. The modules must have a performance warranty from the manufacturer that protects against the electrical output of the unit degrading more than 10% over a 10-year period, and more than 20% over a 20-year period.
- Inverters. Inverters must have a 10-year warranty provided by the equipment manufacturer that protects against defect or component breakdown.
- Installation. The installer must provide a five-year warranty that protects against defects in the overall installation of the solar electric system that degrades the electrical output of the overall system by more than 15%. In addition, the installer must provide a two-year warranty that covers roof penetration leaks. These installation warranties also must provide for no-cost repair or replacement of affected components, including any associated labor that is not otherwise provided by the manufacturer during the warranty period.
Installing the system
A properly licensed contractor must install the solar electric system to ensure it complies with all applicable codes and SRP interconnection requirements. SRP does not install solar electric systems nor do we promote or partner with individual contractors for business solar installations.
The following solar interest groups provide lists of solar electric contractors:
SRP makes no representations or warranties with respect to any information provided by third parties.
The system installer must have the appropriate license from the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Installers must have either an L-11 or K-11 license. If the contractor can show that the scope of work associated with their license application includes a solar electric installation component, the following licenses will be accepted: L-05 or K-05.
Please visit the Arizona Registrar of Contractors' website or call them toll-free at (888) 271-9286 to verify the validity of the contractor's license.
Billing, payment and price plan
The following price plans are available to commercial solar customers:
- Standard (E-36)
- Time-of-Use (E-32)
- Secondary Large General Service (E-61)
- Primary Large General Service (E-63)
- Substation Large General Service (E-65)
- Substation Large General Service with Instantaneously Interruptible Load (E-66)
No other price plans can be used in conjunction with a commercial solar electric system. You can learn more about available price plans by calling your SRP Strategic Energy Manager or the Business Customer Center at (602) 236-8833 weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
SRP will install a second meter to monitor the energy production from your solar electric system.
Customers who sell excess energy production back to SRP will be under the SRP Buyback Service Rider
Under the Buyback Service Rider, if the energy produced by the system is greater than the energy used by the customer in a given period, the value of the excess energy produced is credited to the customer.
The amount of the energy credit is determined by taking the hourly indexed energy price and subtracting SRP's costs related to scheduling, system control and dispatch services.