Updated 1 month ago

A guide to going solar with Arizona Public Service (APS)

Written by Catherine Lane

Find out how much solar panels can save on your APS bill

If you’re one of Arizona Public Service’s 1.2 million customers, you’re probably tired of two things: your high electric bill and the blistering sun. Unfortunately, we can’t turn down the thermostat in the Grand Canyon State, but what we can do is help you use that abundant sunshine to your advantage by using solar panels.

At first, the thought of going solar can sound intimidating, especially when you try and piece together what you need to know through APS’ website. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide of everything you need to know and can expect from installing solar panels in Arizona as an APS customer. 

Find out how much it would cost to install a solar system on your specific home

Key takeaways

  • APS credits excess solar energy at $0.076 per kWh, which is lower than the retail rate of electricity.

  • APS requires solar homeowners to use Time of Use rates, which results in slightly lower solar savings.

  • The solar interconnection process takes anywhere from one to four weeks with APS.

Does Arizona Public Service offer net metering?

Unfortunately, APS does not offer a net metering program. However, they do have a net billing program, which provides slightly lower savings than full-retail net metering. 

Despite net billing providing lower savings than a net metering program would, homeowners can still eliminate a majority of their monthly electricity bill when they install solar with APS. 

How does APS’ net billing program work? 

Unfortunately, APS does not offer a net metering program. However, they do have a net billing program, which can still provide substantial solar savings.

Under net billing, a home will use the solar energy panels produce, reducing the amount of electricity it needs to take from the grid and lowering electric bills. If the home produces more energy than a home needs, the excess electricity will be purchased by APS at a special rate called the Resource Comparison Proxy Export Rate (RCP).

Find out how much net billing can save on your APS bill

Resource Comparison Proxy Export Rate

The RCP rate is equal to $0.07619 per kWh of solar energy purchased by APS. This is lower than what APS charges for electricity, which is about $0.15 per kWh. 

Because the RCP rate is lower than the retail rate of electricity, excess solar energy cannot fully cover the full costs of energy you take from APS in the future, lowering overall solar savings. 

Keep in mind that solar energy that is used by your house is valued at the full retail rate of electricity; only excess energy sent to APS is purchased at the lower RCP rate. Depending on the rate plan you use, the RCP rate may be higher than some off-peak rates. 

Time of Use rates 

APS customers who install solar are required to use Time of Use rate plans, where the utility charges different rates depending on the time of day. Electricity is most expensive during on-peak hours (between 4 PM and 7 PM). Any other time of day is considered off-peak, and electricity rates will be lower.

APS offers two Time of Use rate plans: Time of Use and Time of Use with Demand Charge. The demand charge plan has lower rates, but an additional demand charge based on the maximum amount of power your home uses from the grid during peak hours. Here’s a breakdown of these plans with their summer rates:

Plan

Time of Use

Time of Use with Demand Charge

On-peak rates (4 PM - 7 PM)

$0.34 per kWh

$0.06

Off-peak rates (all other times)

$0.12 per kWh

$0.14

Monthly demand charge

$0

$19.59 per kW*

*Per kW of highest on-peak usage hour 

Which rate plan is best for solar savings? With conscientious energy usage, solar homeowners can achieve the lowest APS bills with the Demand Charge plan. Ensuring you don’t run power-hungry appliances during peak hours will keep your demand charge as low as possible, and you’ll enjoy lower energy rates. Ultimately, the best rate plan for you will depend on your personal habits.

Does APS offer any solar incentives or rebates? 

APS does not offer any solar incentives or rebates to its customers. 

However, Arizona has a solar tax credit that equals 25% of system costs up to $1,000. The Arizona tax credit can be used in addition to the 30% federal solar tax credit, resulting in thousands of dollars in tax savings. 

APS used to have a battery rebate program for homeowners who install Enphase, SolarEdge, or Tesla batteries, but it has since closed. 

Find out how much you can save with solar incentives in Arizona

Steps to going solar with Arizona Public Service 

Once you’ve chosen the solar installer that you want to complete your solar system, there isn’t much more for you as the homeowner to worry about. The installer will handle almost all of the paperwork that APS needs to approve your system. 

The entire solar interconnection process with APS takes anywhere from one to four weeks, depending on the complexity of your system.

Step 1: Submit interconnection application  

Your installer will help you fill out the interconnection application to APS. APS also requires the installer to provide a few other documents, including a copy of your contract with the installer, a Site Plan, an Electrical Three Line Diagram, and an Authorization form

Step 2: Interconnection approval and installation 

Once your interconnection agreement and all necessary documentation have been submitted, APS will either request revisions to the application, like changing the design of the system for certain safety reasons or approve the project. 

Generally, you’ll get approval from APS on the first submission. However, if you’re installing a solar battery with your solar panels, the process may take a bit longer. APS requires more detailed plans for battery storage systems and it may cause a bit of back and forth between them and your installer. 

Once APS approves your interconnection application, the installation can begin! 

Step 3: Submitting final documentation  

When the installation is complete, your installer will provide APS with a few more documents signifying that the system is complete and up to code. 

Step 4: APS inspection and meter installation 

After receiving the final documentation, APS will schedule a time for an inspection to make sure that the solar system matches the approved plans. While there, APS will also install a special electric meter that allows you to take part in their net billing program.  

If APS finds issues with the system design during inspection, your installer will be notified of what needs to be fixed. APS will schedule another inspection when your installer has informed them that all necessary issues have been addressed. 

Step 5: Permission to operate 

Once your solar system passes APS’ inspection and the meter is installed, your system is officially ready to turn on! APS will leave a door hanger at your home and send you an email confirming that you have permission to operate. 

Should APS customers consider installing a solar battery? 

Installing a solar battery can earn some additional electricity bill savings under net billing and provide backup power during a grid outage.  However, the savings don’t usually outweigh the costs of installing energy storage. 

Solar batteries cost upwards of $10,000, and they won’t provide you with that much in additional electric bill savings, extending your overall solar payback period

But, if having access to a backup energy source is important to you, a battery can be worthwhile. 

Find the right solar installer to help you reduce your APS bills

Finding the right solar company is crucial to getting the best quality and price. Solar is a 25-year investment, and you want to make sure you sign a contract with a company you feel confident can support you for decades.

Our solar industry experts recommend looking for solar companies that have been in business for at least five years, have positive customer reviews, and employ NABCEP-certified professionals. You should always contact at least three solar companies so you can compare quotes and find the system that is perfect for your home. 

This sounds intimidating, but don’t worry - SolarReviews can help. We can get you in touch with reliable, pre-vetted solar companies in your area that you can trust to get the job done right. 

Find trusted solar companies near you to lower your APS bills

Going solar with APS FAQs

Written by Catherine Lane Solar Industry Expert

Catherine is the Written Content Manager at SolarReviews, where she has been at the forefront of researching and reporting on the solar industry for five years. She leads a dynamic team in producing informative and engaging content on residential solar to help homeowners make informed decisions about investing in solar panels. Catherine’s expertise has garnered attention from leading industry publications, with her work being featured in Sola...

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