Debunking the Top 3 Myths About Solar

Sabrina Lopez
August 26, 2016
4 min read

Solar has been in the headlines a lot lately. And with all the noise, separating fact from fiction cannot be easy. Fast-paced changes in solar technology, energy efficiency, tax credits, and electric utility pricing have created a “perfect storm” of misconceptions about the state of rooftop solar here in Arizona.

While it’s impossible to unravel every bit of bad information in the context of one single blog, we've taken the liberty to compile the top three solar myths we hear most frequently, along with some additional insights to help you make an informed and balanced decision when considering whether solar is right for you.


Myth 1: Arizona electric utilities are killing solar - How and when people use electricity is evolving. These changes are partly driven by rooftop solar. Still, factors such as the increasing use of electric vehicles, improvements in energy efficiency, and a growing at-home workforce are also having a measurable impact. To address these changes, Arizona utilities are moving toward demand fees to better align grid performance and upkeep with changing consumption patterns. Under demand pricing (implemented by SRP for solar customers in 2015 and now proposed for all customers by APS for 2017), additional fees are assessed from a customer’s highest on-peak 30-minute (SRP) or 60-minute (APS) usage window during each billing cycle. While demand pricing dramatically changes the economics of a solar purchase, solar customers can save money with the right combination of technologies. The key is to avoid running high-consumption appliances concurrently to keep on-peak demand from spiking. Sun Valley Solar was the first solar provider in Arizona to combine solar with sophisticated demand management technology to deliver real savings under SRP’s E-27 demand plan.

Learn how Jenn in Chandler used our solar with demand management technology to drop her temperature by 5 degrees and her bill by 60%!

Myth 2: If you don’t have a south-facing roof, solar isn’t a good option
Regardless of orientation, the most important consideration is that your roof and any solar panels installed on it must not be shaded by structures, mountains, or large trees. While an unobstructed south-facing roof is ideal for capturing the most mid-afternoon sun, a west-facing orientation can also be beneficial at offsetting utility power during high-demand on-peak hours later in the day (such as the 3-7 PM) when most people are returning home from work. Ultimately, the best-performing solar energy system is designed to address your specific patterns. Typical considerations include total utility offset goals, personal usage patterns, local utility price plans, incentives, and the efficiency of the home and appliances. All of these variables will influence your solar energy system's configuration, orientation, and price.

Myth 3: Solar panel pricing keeps dropping, so it’s best to waitIt’s true — photovoltaic solar panel prices have dropped considerably in the past ten years. However, waiting for panel prices to drop further before deciding to go solar may not make the most sense when considering other factors that have a much larger impact on pricing and payback calculations. Currently, state and federal tax incentives can offset more than 30% of a solar purchase. The total percentage of the federal tax credit will begin decreasing in 2019 and expire at the end of 2021. Additionally, APS has recently agreed to allow any customer signing a rooftop solar installation contract between now and July 1, 2017, to stay on non-demand pricing for the next 20 years. 

You can also view samples of actual "grandfathering" letters from APS below:

When you consider that solar is one of the few home upgrades that puts money back in your pocket from day one, the question becomes, how much money will I lose by not going solar today?

To explore how solar might make sense for your home, we invite you to download our complimentary solar guide to help explain some of the most important considerations when switching to clean solar energy. If interested, you can also request a custom solar quote from one of our solar experts today.