Tucson sits just north of the Mexican border in sunny Arizona, which ranks among the top US states in terms of solar potential. The state has seen tremendous growth in both residential and utility-scale solar installations in recent years, and there is no reason for you to be missing out: With Arizona state’s extremely generous solar tax incentives, installing a solar energy system for your Tucson home or business is one of the best long-term investments you can make right now. Not only can a well set-up system potentially reduce your power bills to zero for decades to come, you’re also doing your bit to save the environment!
The first and hardest step of this process is to decide on a quality solar installer. We have another great article here where we go through the criteria that any good installer should fulfill, but stay on this page if you want to jump right into looking at the best solar companies in Tucson. Below, we compare and contrast eight of the most well-known solar installers operating in the city, and give a final verdict on our top pick. While we encourage you to do your own research into which solar company would suit you best, our list below can provide a great starting point for your journey.
Best Solar Installers In Tucson
Not sure where to start looking for a solar company in Tucson? We’ve done your homework for you, and compared eight of the most well-known Tucson solar installers below. And we’ve even picked out a winner: read on to find out which one is our top choice!
Technicians for Sustainability
Technicians for Sustainability is a solar installer focused solely in the Tucson city area. Not only are they a completely employee-owned corporation, they are also a certified B Corp – a corporation which focuses on bringing a positive impact to the community and the environment.
Technicians for Sustainability are headquartered just east of downtown Tucson on E 19th Street, and predominantly serve customers located in or around Tucson.
Licensing & Certifications
Technicians for Sustainability hold both an electrical and solar plumbing license in Arizona. They also count multiple NABCEP-certified PV installers among their small team of 23 employees.
Technicians for Sustainability have been serving Tucson customers since 2003, and to date have been a part of 35 MW of residential solar installations in the city.
They are a company focused on giving back to the community: Technicians for Sustainability heavily prioritize using local and environmentally-responsible vendors for their products and equipment, and even has their own Solar Grants program which has provided seven local non-profit organizations with their own solar energy systems.
Technicians for Sustainability is the single highest-rated Tucson solar company on Solar Reviews, garnering a 4.78-rating from 77 reviews. They are also recognized on the site as one of Solar Review’s Top 100 US solar installers.
They hold similarly impressive ratings on other review platforms: 5 stars with 63 reviews on Facebook, and 4.9 stars with 193 reviews on Google. Most customers praise them for being highly knowledgeable about solar energy systems, though some reviews mention that the company has a project backlog of several months. If you want to employ their services, be prepared to potentially wait in line for a while.
Net Zero Solar
Net Zero Solar has been in the residential solar business for over 12 years. They exclusively use high-quality LG solar modules in their installations, which have been found to perform well even in the desert heat of Southern Arizona.
Net Zero Solar has their office located right next to Santa Cruz River Park in Tucson. Their service area is also focused on this location, with most of their customers coming from Southern Arizona.
Licensing & Certifications
Net Zero Solar is fully licensed to conduct solar installations in Arizona, and they hold an electrical, solar plumbing and general contractor license for the state. There are also two NABCEP-certified PV Installers on their 12-person team.
Net Zero Solar was founded in 2009 by Chad Waits, an experienced solar installer who first cut his teeth working for other leading Tucson solar companies. They offer both grid-tied and off-grid solar installations to their Arizona customers, as well as solar well plumbing systems.
On top of 25-year manufacturer warranties for their solar modules and a 10-year workmanship warranty, Net Zero Solar is also confident enough to offer a 5-year system performance guarantee. This means that if your installed system falls short of producing the predicted level of electricity, Net Zero will compensate you for the difference at retail rates.
Net Zero Solar is highly regarded by their customers online, and holds perfect 5-star ratings on both Google and Facebook with a combined 113 reviews on the two platforms. They also have a 5-star rating on BBB with 3 customer reviews, though they are not accredited on the website.
On Solar Reviews, they enjoy a 4.76-star rating, putting them as the second highest-rated solar installer in Tucson. Many customers commend them for not over-selling their solar energy systems, helping them save money.
Energy Solutions Providers
Energy Solutions Providers have over 19 years of experience installing both residential and commercial solar in Arizona. They’re very selective about the manufacturers they work with, and exclusively use LG solar panels, Enphase inverters and and Kohler generators.
Energy Solutions Providers have their headquarters in Florence, Arizona. Most of their customers are from Maricopa, Pinal and Pima County, including the city of Tucson.
Licensing & Certifications
Energy Solutions Providers holds a specialized CR-5 license allowing them to conduct solar panel installation work in Arizona. They are not NABCEP-certified.
Energy Solutions Providers was founded in 2002 by David Haycock, and has since served hundreds of customers in the Southern Arizona area.
They offer a wide variety of solar energy solutions, including solar carports, ground-mounted solar systems, both grid-tied and off-grid solar systems as well as battery storage systems.
Despite being one of the smaller companies on our list, Energy Solutions Providers has an impressive reputation on Solar Reviews, where they maintain a 4.61 rating after 76 reviews.
While they have no Facebook reviews, they do have a 4.4-star rating on Google from 22 reviews. Many customers were satisfied with their quality solar installations, but the few negative reviews noted that the company sometimes fails to respond to calls or requests for appointments.
Elevation Solar is an Arizona-based solar company who also operates in many nearby states. They offer a quick online review process for potential customers: simply upload your utility bill to receive a customized quote from them!
Elevation Solar has their headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, along with offices in Tucson and the states of Texas and Nevada. Their extremely wide service range, though, extends across multiple state lines to include the entirety of Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, Texas, Utah, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Licensing & Certifications
In addition to an Electrical license, Elevation Solar also holds an Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration license as well as a Dual Residential and Small Commercial license for Arizona. Their employees include NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals.
Elevation Solar was founded in 2014, making it a relatively new company on our list. Nevertheless, their quality service has won them the 2019 Contractor of the Year award from the US Department of Energy.
In addition to solar installations, Elevation Solar is able to make your home more energy-efficient by providing home insulation and vent renovations. They’re also experts in setting up Smart Energy Management systems, which monitor your electricity use and solar power generation in real time, along with managing how much electricity each of your appliances get to use.
Elevation Solar’s Arizona office has a whopping 560 reviews on Google and a glowing 4.5-star rating. They are similarly well represented on Solar Reviews, with a 4.29 rating from 128 reviews. Their reputation on the BBB is less than stellar however, despite being BBB accredited and rated A+: they only have a 3.69 customer rating and 42 complaints.
Only 9 complaints have been resolved so far, and many customers complain about issues with wiring and poor customer support. Elevation Solar’s BBB reviews do come from its customers across all eight US states though, which might explain the difference in rating between its BBB profile and its Arizona Google listing.
Washington-based Solgen Power carries out both rooftop and ground-mounted solar installations for its customers across four US states. Despite having been in business for only four years, the company has already installed close to 40,000 solar panels for its many customers.
Solgen Power’s main office is located in Pasco, Washington, though it also has an office in Tucson, Arizona and the states of Ohio and Illinois. They serve customers in all four of these states.
Licensing & Certifications
Solgen Power holds an electrical license in Arizona, and employs NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals.
Solgen Power was founded in 2017 by Washington natives Chris Lee and Daryl Kelley. Following the success of their operations in Washington, the company quickly expanded into other US states, landing in Tucson in 2019.
Their full-service solar installation includes helping customers secure the financing and building permits necessary, and promises to install their customized system within 1-2 business days after all the paperwork has been cleared.
Solgen Power’s Arizona Google listing boasts a 4.4-star rating with 37 reviews, while on Solar Reviews they have a slight lower but still above average 4.09-rating from 55 reviews.
While they are accredited on the BBB and have received an A+ ranking from the organization, they do have 3 customer complaints on the site. Two of them are on the same issue, mainly that Solgen Power mis-estimated the savings from solar energy installation during the offer process, leading to unhappy customers who discovered that they were paying more than expected. None of these complaints have been resolved so far.
Sun Valley Solar Solutions
Sun Valley Solar Solutions have been helping Arizona customers with their solar installation needs for over 15 years. They use no sub-contractors, and personally carry out the entire installation from start to finish.
Sun Valley Solar Solutions is headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, and serves customers from all across the state, including Tucson.
Licensing & Certifications
Sun Valley Solar Solutions hold Electrical and Solar Plumbing licenses for Arizona. They count NABCEP-certified PV Technical Sales Professionals and PV Installation Professionals among their ranks, along with RISE CSRP Certified Solar Roofing Professionals.
Sun Valley Solar Solutions was founded in 2006 by two former Intel engineers, Joe Messner and Russ Patzer. The company has come a long way since then, having helped 8,500 Arizona home and business owners install solar energy systems as of 2021.
In addition to offering conventional roof-top solar panel systems, the company can also help customers install Tesla Solar Roofs, which feature roof tiles that are themselves capable of generating electricity from solar. They offer both a ten-year workmanship warranty and a ten-year roof penetration warranty.
Sun Valley Solar Solutions is the fourth highest-rated solar installer in Arizona on Solar Reviews, with an incredible 4.76 rating and 98 reviews. This is backed up by their impressive 4.7-star rating on Google after 105 reviews. Many customers on both platforms were satisfied with how well the company customized each installation to suit their needs.
They are accredited on the BBB with an A+ ranking, but have received three customer complaints. The details on these complaints have been made unavailable, but only one has been marked as resolved.
Sunny Energy makes the bold promise of being able to install solar panels onto any roof. Their turn-key business model takes care of everything related to the installation for the customer, from the initial filing of permits to making sure that your system passes approval from the city and utility inspectors.
Sunny Energy’s main office is located in the Pheonix area, but they are able to serve customers in the surrounding regions of Southern Arizona.
Licensing & Certifications
Sunny Energy holds an Electrical license for Arizona state. Their founder, Joseph Cunningham, is a NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professional.
Sunny Energy was co-founded in 2014 by Joe Cunningham, Chris Wood, Terry Rials and Jake Stainbrook, each of whom are experienced solar installation professionals with 12 or more years of experience under their belts.
Their primary focus is on grid-tied solar PV installations, which can help you save on electricity bills by selling the power generated back to the grid. In 2021, they were named the Best Solar Contractor in Arizona’s West Valley by the state’s largest newspaper, Arizona Republic.
Sunny Energy is well reviewed by customers on both Google and Solar Reviews. They have a 4.5-star rating on Google after 228 reviews, and a 4.68-star evaluation on Solar Reviews with 91 reviews. While a minority of owners voiced complaints over how their actual utility savings were lower than promised, the vast majority were very happy with their solar energy installations.
Their BBB profile is equally impressive. They are accredited with an A+ ranking, and have received a 4.68 customer ranking after 66 reviews. While they do have four unresolved complaints on the site, each of the complaints have been addressed in detail by the company.
Solar Solution AZ
The team at Solar Solution AZ has a combined 50 years of experience in solar energy installation. This woman-led solar company has also installed solar power for more than twenty local churches and non-profit organizations in Tucson.
Solar Solution AZ has their headquarters in Tucson, and serve customers across Southern Arizona.
Licensing & Certifications
Solar Solution AZ holds Arizona licenses for dual residence and small commercial contracting, as well as the required electrical contracting license for solar PV installation. Their solar installers and engineering team are also NABCEP-certified.
Solar Solution AZ is a woman-led solar installation company founded in 2012. They have collected over 3,000 satisfied customers and installed more than 38,000 solar panels to date.
They offer residential solar customers an extremely generous 25-year labor, maintenance and repair warranty. Their customers also receive free monitoring of their system for life through the Solar Edge program, which constantly scans for any potential problems that their solar energy systems might run into.
Solar Solution AZ holds a perfect 5-star rating on Facebook, based on 27 reviews. They’ve received more reviews on Google, where they’re sitting at a 4.4-star rating after 127 reviews. Most customers point to their clear and informative communication as a major plus point.
The company is also accredited by the BBB, and enjoys an A+ ranking. Their customer review rating is at 4.3 stars after 23 customer reviews, though they have received 5 complaints on the platform. Most of the complaints revolve around issues with financing the solar installation, with some customers angry that their loan conditions did not fit what was described to them initially. Solar Solution AZ has answered each complaint in detail, and two have been resolved.
Of course, no solar company is perfect. But out of the eight installers compared above, our top choice is Net Zero Solar. Their amazing online customer reviews stand out at first glance: After 12 years in business, they currently do not have a single negative review across a combined 183 ratings on Google, Facebook and Solar Reviews. Most importantly, they have won praise for refusing to over-sell to their customers, which is a common complaint for many solar companies. They make sure that their customer pays for only exactly what they need, and nothing more.
They also offer a unique warranty that none of the other solar companies on this list have: a five-year system performance guarantee. If your installed system should produce less electricity than initially quoted to you (another common complaint for other solar companies), Net Zero is willing to compensate you for the difference, ensuring that you don’t lose out because of their error. Their glowing reviews are clearly no mistake: this is one solar company which knows how to do right by their customers.
Solar Energy in Tucson, Arizona
Tucson is in contention for one of the best locations for solar power in the United States. Arizona’s fierce desert sun shines upon Tucson for 284 days a year, putting the city up there with the sunniest cities in the country. Overall, Arizona state has the second highest solar potential out of all US states, and ranks fourth when it comes to total installed solar capacity. Arizona’s former governor, Janet Napolitano, has even referred to the state’s incredible solar potential as capable of turning it into “the Persian Gulf of Solar Energy”.
But while Arizona has many notable utility-scale solar projects, including what used to be the world’s largest solar power farm, its residential solar installations have been lagging behind. It only ranks ninth in the US for residential solar capacity despite its massive solar potential. Clearly, the state still has a long road to go when it comes to promoting solar adoption.
Laws & Regulations
Arizona state laws have long pushed for renewable energy adoption. Back in 2006, they adopted the Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff (REST) which required the state’s public utilities to generate at least 15% of their power from renewable sources by 2025.
Renewable energy policies have recently faced several set-backs in the state, though. New and more aggressive clean energy rules, requiring public utilities to source 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2050, were rejected in a surprise decision by the state’s regulators in 2021. Instead, they opted for a plan which would require utilities to source 100% renewable energy only by 2070. This puts Arizona’s clean energy policies behind other states like California, New York and Washington, which all require their public utilities to exclusively use renewable energy by 2040 or 2045.
Tucson itself has also run into recent issues with solar power adoption. Even though many homeowners in the city are eager to install solar for their homes, some customers of Tucson Electric Power (TEP) have reported having their applications for grid-tied solar power turned down. This is a result of new regulations set by the Arizona Corporation Commission, which has limited the total solar capacity that can connect to the local grid in each neighborhood. TEP has said that the new rules are necessary in order to protect the grid from damage, but it has left many Tucson homeowners frustrated.
Tax Credits and Incentives
Arizona state has one of the most generous incentive packages for installing solar. State residents are eligible for the Personal Tax Credit incentive, which pays out an personal income tax credit equal to 25% of the cost of their new solar installation, capped at $1,000. Other types of renewable energy installation, such as wind or solar thermal systems, are eligible for this scheme as well. The state also has a property tax exemption for home solar installations: renewable energy systems are valued at $0 for tax purposes. This means that while installing solar on your rooftop increases your home value, the property taxes you pay would stay the same.
On top of these state incentives, you can also take advantage of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This federal scheme gives new solar installers a federal tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of solar installation. Unlike the earlier Personal Tax Credit scheme, there is no cap to the credit that can be provided, though the program is set to phase out after 2023 for residential solar installations.
Net metering schemes were discontinued for the whole of Arizona in 2016, in lieu of a new net billing policy. Previously, net metering meant that Arizona utilities paid retail rates for the excess electricity generated by a residential solar installation – this payment offsets your monthly electricity bill, and if you sold back more electricity to the grid than what you used, the utility would have to compensate you for this extra electricity at the end of your annual billing cycle. The new net billing approach keeps this same billing structure, but lowers the rate that utilities pay for your electricity. Instead of receiving a retail rate, the utility now only pays you a lower “avoided cost” rate for your solar power. This avoided cost rate is calculated based on how much it would have cost the utility to generate the electricity they bought from you, rather than how much it charges customers for this same electricity.
The main Tucson electric utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), currently pays customers 8.68/cents per kWh for renewable energy sold back to the grid. This rate is slated for a further drop to 7.81/cents per kWh in October 2021. Both figures are lower than TEP’s retail rate of 10.5 to 13.1 cents per kWh for residential customers.
While Arizona does not have a specific solar license regulating solar installers, Arizona solar companies require a CR-11 Electrical License, which authorizes them to perform electrical work on both commercial and residential properties. Solar heating systems do have their own set of licenses however, including specific Solar Water Heating, Solar Space Heating and Solar Pool Heating licenses. These types of solar thermal systems are different from the electricity-generating PV installations we discuss in this article, though some of the solar companies we cover above also offer these services.
Outside of these mandatory state licenses, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP, also provides certification for solar installation professionals. These certifications are sought after in the industry, and require applicants to pass a rigorous examination or provide proof of real job experience as a solar installation technician. Many reputable solar companies, including those on our list above, count at least a few NABCEP-certified employees among their team.
Despite recent changes to Arizona’s net metering payouts and new limits on solar power in Tucson, generous state and federal incentives for solar power still make a solar installation for your Tucson home something worth looking into. There are many great solar installers in the city, some of which we covered and compared in detail above. While it’s a good idea to start by looking at our comparisons, we also encourage you to do your own research and contact the companies which interest you for a personalized quote. There’s never been a better opportunity to take advantage of Arizona’s blazing desert sunlight and save the environment at the same time!
Is Tucson suitable for Solar?
Yes, in fact it might be harder to find another place in the US more naturally suited for solar. Tucson enjoys 284 days of sunshine a year, and ranks among the sunniest cities in the US, keeping your solar panels producing electricity year-round.
Some Tucson residents have recently reported their plans for solar installation being rejected by the city’s electric utility though, due to caps on solar power for each neighborhood. In these cases, you are required to attach a storage battery to your solar installation before it can be approved, which does drive up costs. Make sure to look into this issue with your utility provider or solar company before committing to an installation!
As a Tucson resident, you qualify for both a state income tax credit and a federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, respectively worth 25% and 26% of your new solar installation. There is a $1000 cap to the state tax credit, while the federal scheme is uncapped. These tax credits are not directly paid out to you though, they can only offset the state and federal income taxes which you pay.
Yes in general, but it does depend on how suitable your property is for solar installation. Tucson’s main electricity utility participates in a net billing scheme which pays you for the solar electricity that you generate, and these payments offset your utility bill. For a solar installation to save you money, the money you save on utility payments must be greater than the cost of installing your system, which is different for each property. Solar energy systems also have a set operational lifetime, usually around 25 years, after which the system needs to be replaced.
Arizona state requires solar companies to hold a CR-11 Electrical license, which allows them to carry out electrical work on residential and commercial properties. This is separate from the state’s solar water heating and solar space heating licenses, which are required for contractors looking to install solar thermal systems. If you’re looking for a contractor to install an electricity-generating solar PV installation, like the ones discussed in this article, an electrical license is all that’s required.
However, it can also be a good idea to check that the solar company you hire employs NABCEP-certified PV Installation Professionals. This optional certification is awarded to individual technicians after completing a rigorous examination or providing proof of long-term experience as a solar installer.
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