Going solar in one of the sunniest southwestern states is becoming more cost effective thanks to new incentives. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has expanded its SunShare solar subsidy program to cover even more of the cost of installing photovoltaic (PV) systems at a home or office.Tucson, Arizona – August 17, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] TEP customers who purchase, install and maintain their own equipment could be eligible for a SunShare subsidy of up to $4,500 on a typical 1,500-watt solar power system. The expanded incentive was approved August 3 by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). “We hope this new, larger subsidy will encourage more customers to invest in solar power,” said Tom Hansen, vice president and technical services advisor for TEP. “TEP is working with the ACC to ensure that solar power plays a significant role in Arizona’s energy future,” Hansen said. “Every customer who installs a grid-connected photovoltaic system brings us a step closer to that goal.” The enhanced incentive is one of three options available through TEP’s SunShare program, which subsidizes the installation of solar power systems linked to the company’s local distribution system. That connection gives customers a chance to earn credits toward their TEP bill by providing excess power to the local grid. Customers choosing SunShare Option 1 receive a subsidy of $2,000 per kW of verified AC output for solar systems they purchase themselves. Under SunShare Option 2, customers receive a $2,000 discount on a 1-kW AC solar system kit purchased directly from TEP. SunShare Option 3 offers a subsidy of up to $3,000 per kW of rated DC capacity. For a system to qualify for that subsidy, TEP must receive a completed SunShare agreement by the end of 2004 and the system must be operational within 180 days after receipt of that agreement. The maximum subsidy will be reduced to $2,700 in 2005, and $2,400 in 2006. This year, a typical 1.5 kW DC system expected to produce approximately 2,000 AC kWh annually would be eligible for a subsidy of up to $4,500 under SunShare Option 3. The program is limited to subsidizing up to 200 kW of solar capacity per year. TEP provides maintenance for systems purchased under SunShare Options 1 and 2. Customers who take advantage of SunShare Option 3 must maintain their own solar systems. TEP will inspect all SunShare systems at least once a year to ensure they are functioning properly. TEP customers who install solar energy systems also may qualify for up to $1,000 in state tax credits. For more information about SunShare and TEP’s other renewable energy programs, visit the following link.