Do home solar panels make sense in Cottonwood, Arizona?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Cottonwood is about  $14,240.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,360 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. In Arizona, there are additional solar rebates available.
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Cottonwood, AZ?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in Arizona is $3/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Cottonwood will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Cottonwood, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 1,033 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average Arizona home uses every month.
• 6.80 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 17 to 26 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$21,772This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $3 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$6,531The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Arizona Department of Revenue Credit for Solar Energy Devices$1,000The Arizona Department of Revenue has a Credit for Solar Energy Devices that gives you a tax credit worth 25% the total system cost, up to a maximum credit of $1,000. Read our guide on solar rebates to learn how tax credits work.
Is your utility company Mesa Energy, Duncan Valley Electric Coop, or Mohave Electric Coop? If so, you may be eligible for additional rebates worth up to $2,500. Use our calculator to find out.
Net system price:$14,240

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Cottonwood, AZ?

Every year, that hypothetical Cottonwood home solar system described above would produce about $1,360 worth of electricity. This is based on the Arizona state average price of electricity of $0.12/kWh and the average local climate.

But that’s just a home with average electricity usage. You might need more or fewer solar panels, depending on how much electricity you want to generate. Also, shade matters a lot. If you have trees or buildings throwing shadows on your roof, that could reduce your solar production by a lot.



Houses in Cottonwood with solar panels

According to our data from various local agencies, there are at least 1,111 homes in Cottonwood that have solar panels installed. This means a lot of your neighbors have looked into solar and decided that it’s a smart choice for them. If you add up the total generating capacity of these solar panel systems, you get a total of 178,787 kilowatts of solar electricity that is being sent into your local electricity grid.

If you’re trying to decide if solar is right for you, this is good news. Having a lot of solar homes means that you will have more local contractors to choose from. You can also feel more confident about going solar, because many of your neighbors in Cottonwood have already decided that solar is a smart choice for them.



Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity. This means that the more sunlight, the better. That doesn’t mean that you need to live in the desert for solar panels to produce a lot of power. The amount of sunlight that a location gets is influenced by how far south it is, but also by its climate. If you live somewhere with few cloudy days, you might generate more solar electricity than a rainy city that is further south.



Cottonwood solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Cottonwood is 7.06, which means that it is one of the sunniest cities in the country.

7.06

If you add solar panels to your Cottonwood home, you’ll generate plenty of electricity and need fewer panels to do it.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI is better, but even if your city is average or even below average for the US, it’s still possible for solar panels to generate plenty of power. For example, solar is very popular in Germany, where the DNI is only around 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Cottonwood
US low
US high

In some cities in the US, the amount of sunlight doesn’t change quite as much from summer to winter, while others see a big difference. These charts show you what to expect in Cottonwood.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Cottonwood.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


A home solar energy system in Cottonwood will have very little seasonal variation in power generation. A solar panel system in the peak month would produce 149% more electricity compared to the darkest month in winter. This is a very small difference between winter and summer solar energy generation versus most other location in the United States. This is good thing if you don’t have net metering, because it means that you will tend to send less excess electricity into the grid.



Cottonwood, AZ solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Cottonwood, AZ.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Cottonwood area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Cottonwood.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Cottonwood. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
AMERICAN SOLAR ELECTRIC10462012
ARCHITECTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSOC5372011
ARIZONA SOLAR SOLUTIONS3142016
ARIZONA SOLAR TECH122004
B W ROGERS ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR LTD5312009
BORGEN ELECTRIC1142012
C A T ELECTRIC4242014
CALDER RENEWABLE ENERGY172009
CELECTRIC262013
CHRIS CONNOLLY ELECTRIC102009
COBRA ELECTRIC352010
CONNOLLY ELECTRIC976242014
EDWARDS DESIGN GROUP12282012
ELEVATION SOLAR152016
EV SOLAR PRODUCTS7262012
GREEN EARTH ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL132016
K-11 ELECTRIC2162013
KEN NICKELL IA ONLY242014
KINNEY CONSTRUCTION SERVICES15972012
M F C ELECTRICAL CONTRACTING LLC422332012
PAGE SPRINGS ELECTRIC152016
PUR SOLAR INC251652016
REC SOLAR16802015
ROOFTOP SOLAR142016
SALT RIVER SOLAR & WIND6202010
SILVER SKY SOLAR4170,9472011
SKY CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING152012
SKY HIGH ENERGY3102015
SOLAR ALTERNATIVES4442014
SOLAR TOPPS162012
SOLARCITY2811,5982016
SOLARONE ENERGY GROUP2351,4422017
SOLARWORKS663812014
STOCKBRIDGE ELECTRIC INC34352012
STOCKBRIDGE ENERGY GROUP161022016
SUN VALLEY SOLAR4342016
SUNHARVEST SOLAR & ELECTRICAL8362014
SUNRUN211522016
T 4 ELECTRIC272007
T AND T REFRIGERATION INC182010
TCK AIR CONDITIONING & HEATING INC1142010
TESLA1911,4752015
TITAN SOLAR POWER152016
VERDE SOLAR POWER15902016

Solar panel lease companies in Cottonwood

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in Arizona ?
SungevityNO
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Cottonwood?

If you’re trying to find a local company that specializes in cleaning solar panels, you should know that it’s probably not worth the cost. For the vast majority of people, what you end up paying to a company to clean your solar array will never be recouped by the small increase you get in electricity generation. What should most people do? Just let the rain keep your panels clean. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Cottonwood

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Cottonwood solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Cottonwood



Average Arizona electricity prices


The average price of residential electricity in Arizona is 12.44 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average price across the nation is 13.34 cents per kWh.

In other words, your cost of electricity is pretty close the US average.

Even though your electricity prices are pretty reasonable, that doesn’t mean that solar can’t be a wise choice for you. This is especially true if you use a lot of electricity in your home. Even with modest utility rates, solar panels will reduce your utility bills and can pay for themselves in a reasonable amount of time.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in Arizona state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
Ajo Improvement Co77611.29
Aha Macav Power Service4298.24
Ak-Chin Electric Utility Authority30810.05
Arizona Public Service Co1,080,66513.57
City of Mesa - (AZ)14,16311.41
Dixie Escalante R E A, Inc2,1197.73
Electrical Dist No2 Pinal County3,98012.31
Electrical Dist No3 Pinal County21,98613.82
Graham County Electric Coop Inc6,91112.24
Electrical Dist No4 Pinal County1,52512.15
Garkane Energy Coop, Inc1,11710.51
Mohave Electric Cooperative, Inc36,65511.13
Columbus Electric Coop, Inc43017.11
Morenci Water and Electric Co2,3058.48
Navopache Electric Coop, Inc35,61313.58
Salt River Project942,69011.59
Page Utility Enterprises3,1907.85
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority25,83911.79
Sulphur Springs Valley E C Inc42,72114.32
Trico Electric Cooperative Inc43,44514.19
Tucson Electric Power Co381,55612.05
UNS Electric, Inc84,5909.89
USBIA-San Carlos Project10,62913.49
Wellton-Mohawk Irr & Drain Dist2,89911.48

Historical Arizona electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in Arizona, over the past ten years, is 11.47 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 5% less than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. While you’re lucky that your electricity prices have stayed low over time, there’s no guarantee that this will hold true in the future.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical Arizona electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

AZ prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
AZ prices10.27¢10.73¢10.97¢11.08¢11.29¢11.71¢11.90¢12.13¢12.15¢12.44¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


One of the big financial advantages of going solar is that you basically lock in your price of electricity for the next 20 to 30 years (because most solar panels come with 25 year power warranties). When you look at the graphs above and see the historical trend of electricity prices in the United States, you’ll notice that prices steadily increase over time. While prices from your utility may bounce up and down, the cost of electricity eventually increases over time. Going solar will protect you from those increases.



Environmental report for Arizona electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, Arizona power plants produce on average:

  • 413 kilograms of CO2, which is 10% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 115 grams of SO2, which is 72% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 331 grams of NOx, which is 11% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 10,932 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 4,515 kilograms of CO2, 1,257 grams of SO2, and 3,618 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 262 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

AZ state average electricity emissions
AZ
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Cottonwood

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Cottonwood?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Cottonwood
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.