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Like it or hate it, there is no avoiding it. The summer months are upon us and we know exactly what that means. Soon, our days will be spent solely in the pool or in an air-conditioned room. We will use oven mitts to drive and our mantra of “it’s a dry heat” will echo throughout the city. It also means one more thing… high electric bills. Although there is no escaping the triple-digit weather, going solar can help alleviate the financial burden of tolerating the upcoming months. Here is more on what you need to know. 

Save energy, save money

As Valley residents may know, summer electric bills can make up a large portion of your monthly expenses. Imagine all the other ways you could spend your money if your bill was significantly reduced or eliminated altogether. Interestingly, many solar system owners see negative utility bills a few months each year, meaning the utility company actually pays them for the energy used.  

Environmental benefits

Going solar doesn’t just help your wallet. Unlike conventional energy, which relies on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, solar energy does not emit any harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. In fact, a typical residential solar panel system will eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions each year. That’s the equivalent of planting more than 100 trees annually.

Credits and incentives

Qualified residents who install solar may be eligible for both state and federal incentives. The state of Arizona provides a 10% tax credit of up to a $1,000 in order to offset the cost of installation. Additionally, homeowners can take advantage of a 30% federal tax credit through the end of 2019. 

How it all works

So how do they even produce energy? Solar photovoltaic panels are made from silicon cells that join together to form a circuit. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the panel’s cells. This creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow.

Factors to consider

Phoenix averages 3,872 hours of sunshine per year, thus making the Valley of the Sun a prime choice when it comes to maximizing the use of solar energy. After all, more direct sunlight equals more energy. However, there are other several factors that could affect energy production including the location of the panels, condition of the roof, orientation of the sun, quality of equipment, excessive

shading and outdoor temperatures. JN

Joe Cunninham is the co-founder and director of operations at Sunny Energy.For more information, visit

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