Solar FAQ

What kind of roof do I have to have?
You can put a solar electric system on almost all roof types including, but not limited to, concrete tile, flat foam, built-up, asphalt shingle, and metal. It may be more expensive to install a system on some roof types than on others.
How much roof space is required?
For every kilowatt (kW) installed, a solar electric system takes up about 100 square feet on a pitched roof surface. So an average solar electric system of 3kW requires approximately 300 square feet. Installations on flat roofs require more square footage, as dictated by the tilt angle of the solar panels.
How much sun do I need?
The more sun your solar electric system gets, the better return you'll get on your money. As a first step, Green Choice Solar can often tell by looking at a satellite image if your roof gets enough sun to make solar cost-effective. However, in all assessments, an onsite evaluation is necessary to confirm site specific integration details and system placement.
What is a payback period for solar?
The payback for your solar electric system depends on lots of variables. Your payback could be anywhere between 4 and 9 years depending on how much energy you use, how much sun your roof receives, the incentives that apply to your solar electric system purchase and the value of the energy your system offsets.
What size system do I need?
The solar electric system size you need depends on how much electricity you use, the amount of energy you are looking to offset and the size and suitability of locations where the solar electric system will be installed.
What size solar electric system should I get? Will it handle all my electricity needs?
The size you choose is a trade-off between the amount of money you want to invest and the amount of electricity you want to produce. You can contact your servicing utility or you can look at your electricity bills to calculate how much electricity your home typically uses with a focus on kWh consumption.
How much electricity will my solar electric system produce?
The amount of electricity generated by a solar electric system depends on several factors, primarily system size, solar panel tilt angle and orientation, as well as your local geographic and environmental conditions. Generally in southern Arizona 1,000 watts of solar panels (approx. 5 solar panels) will generate 1,600 to 1,800 kWh of energy per year.
How does a Green Choice Solar system generate electricity?
When sunlight shines onto your solar panels, the photovoltaic effect transforms the light into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter then converts the DC electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity that is used in your home.
How do I use the electricity from my solar electric system?
The electricity generated by a Green Choice Solar system works just like the electricity delivered by your local utility. The system connects directly to your utility panel or circuit breaker box, so it interfaces seamlessly with your utility power.
How will I know if my Green Choice Solar system is working?
Since solar is a motionless and noiseless technology, your grid-tie inverter features a visual display that will help you to keep track of how much power your system is producing, as well as the cumulative energy production of your system over time.

Additionally, remote data monitoring devices are available.
Will I still need a utility provider? Do I need to be connected to the grid?
You will still need to be connected to the grid through your local utility. While you generate the bulk of your own electricity during the peak hours of daylight and demand, your utility will seamlessly take over and continue to supply your electricity at night and on very cloudy days.
How safe is a Green Choice Solar system?
Since solar electric systems are generally mounted in a low or no-traffic area, have no moving parts and are virtually maintenance free, they are very safe. Green Choice Solar system components carry all appropriate/recommended electrical certifications, including Underwriters Laboratory (UL listed) standards. As with any electrical appliance, you should always use proper care when handling solar electric system components.
How long do Green Choice Solar systems last?
Most solar electric systems are predicted to last anywhere between 30 and 40 years. Most manufacturers guarantee that, in 20 to 25 years, your solar panels will generate 80% of the electricity they did in the first year. Inverters are typically covered by the manufacturer's warranty for a 10-year period.
How much can I save?
It's a fact that solar electric systems can save people money, with many customers cutting their energy use typically by 50% to 70% or more. Because a solar electric system will last 30 or more years, it also provides security against electricity rate increases.
Who will help me apply for the available incentives?
At Green Choice Solar, we will take care of the application process to secure the utility incentives for your project. The system purchaser files income tax credits, such as those available from the State of Arizona and the Federal Government, with Green Choice Solar providing the necessary proof of qualifying technology.
How much does a solar electric system cost?
The total cost for purchasing and installing the solar system is based on the size of system you require, the available incentives and subsidies that are available in your area, and the specific details of the layout of your home.
How do I purchase a solar electric system from Green Choice Solar?
A solar electric system may be purchased from Green Choice Solar by requesting a system quotation. Give us a call at 480.398.2740 or send an e-mail to and we'll initiate the purchase process with you.
What is the warranty on Green Choice Solar systems?
Our excellent product reliability and quality of installation workmanship allows us to offer an industry leading 10-year limited warranty on the performance of your solar electric system.
What if I just moved and I don't know how much energy I use?
Typical Arizona residential customers consume on average 5 to 10 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot annually. However, estimating energy usage is entirely a factor of the resident's usage tendencies and the energy efficiency of the home. Contact us to discuss your unique situation. Sometimes having the prior homeowner's electricity usage can help in the discussion. Your utility company may be able to provide past usage information.
Can I sell extra energy back to my utility company?
Net metering is a practice offered by Arizona electric utilities as an additional benefit of interconnecting into the power grid. With net metering the customer can offset some of the costs of purchased electric power by selling surplus electric power back to the utility. The net period can be monthly or annual (depending on applicable laws, regulations, and utility policy). Typically a solar electric system produces more power during the peak sunshine period of the day than the home can use at that time. In a grid connected system with net metering, the excess power can be "sold" to the utility for use by other customers, and is generally an offset to the purchased power (such as nighttime use).
Can I add solar panels later?
Adding solar panels is possible but it can be complicated. Inverters and solar panels are designed to "fit together" in manufactured approved configurations. Because there's an ideal number of solar panels that should be configured up to a specific inverter, a whole mini system - solar panels and inverter - would most likely need to be added if you want to increase the size of your system. In many cases it's better to oversize your system a bit if you think you'll need more electricity in the next few years.
Can my homeowners association (HOA) in Arizona stop me from installing a solar electric system?
In short, no. Arizona law protects individual homeowners' private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy. Senate Bill 1254, enacted in July 2007, stipulates that a homeowners association may not prohibit the installation or use of solar-energy devices (panels and associated devices). An association may, however, adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar device if those rules do not prevent the installation of the device, impair the functioning of the device, restrict its use, or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device. The bill also grants reasonable attorney fees to any party who substantially prevails in litigation against an association's board of directors.
How does a solar electric system affect my home's value?
Solar electric systems can significantly increase the value of your home. An ICF Consulting study concluded that saving $1 every year on energy costs adds $20 to a home's value.
Does a solar electric system increase my Arizona property taxes?
Arizona's property tax exemption was established in June 2006 (HB 2429) and applies to "solar energy devices and any other device or system designed for the production of solar energy for on-site consumption." For property tax assessment purposes, solar electric systems are not included in the valuation of the property.
If the power goes out, will my solar electric system keep making energy?
No. For safety reasons, your solar electric system will automatically shut off if the power goes out. By law, any solar electric system without battery backup must shut down until utility power is restored. This is a safety precaution that prevents random surges of power from traveling the grid and causing injury or damage.
How much weight will the solar electric system put on my roof?
Solar electric systems usually add less than four pounds per square foot to the roof. A vast majority of residential roofs require no additional structural engineering to handle the weight of the solar panels.
How long can I reserve the utility incentive before installing the solar electric system?
Typical Arizona utility solar programs allow for 180 days from initial incentive reservation to solar electric system installation. This means your system needs to be up and running within 6 months of when your incentive is reserved. On a case by case basis, allowances and extensions are made for new construction projects and other situations where delays in the installation have occurred and are justified.
Will the Arizona solar incentives expire?
Although the utility incentives aren't set to expire at any specific time, the funding set aside for solar electric systems is being allocated at a rapid pace. Each Arizona utility offering solar power incentives maintains their own incentive budget and program time frames.
What happens at night?
Since solar technology requires sunlight to produce electricity, a solar electric system will not produce during night. Your servicing utility will continue to supply your electricity at night.
What happens to solar panels if struck by hail or golf balls?
The solar panels installed by Green Choice Solar are guaranteed to withstand the direct impact of 3/4 inch hail balls at 120 miles per hour, of which is considered an equivalent durability test to a glancing golf ball impact.
What's the typical voltage of a solar panel?
The voltage of a single panel is usually between 20 and 60 volts. When solar panels are wired together in a high voltage string they have an open circuit voltage between 200 and 400 volts.
What's new for home solar electricity in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009?
The economic stimulus bill signed by President Obama in February 2009 is unlikely to affect the vast majority of homeowners looking into solar electricity.