Arizona produces much more electricity than it consumes, making the state an important power supplier for the Southwest. Coal, natural gas, and nuclear each make up about three-tenths of the state’s electricity generation. Renewable resources, mostly solar and hydroelectric power, provide the rest. Over the past 5 years (2011-2016) Arizona has sharply decreased its reliance on coal for electricity production. Residential and utility-scale solar projects have grown rapidly in its place.
Arizona’s Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant is the largest power plant in the United States by net generation. This plant is located in the desert, and is the only large nuclear power plant in the world that is not located near a large body of water. Instead, it uses treated effluent from nearby municipalities for its cooling needs. Arizona is also home to one of the world’s largest solar farms. The Agua Caliente Solar Project is located in Yuma County and provides enough energy to power over 41,200 homes.
Arizona Electricity Prices
Arizona has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Arizona residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Arizona residents in December 2016 was 11.31¢ per kWh, which is .9¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Arizona, though, having increased more than 10% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Arizona residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Arizona Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2011-2016, Arizona increased its solar energy production from about 0% to 5% of total electricity production. Over the same period, electricity production from coal has fallen over 30%.
Arizona Energy Sector Employment
According to the 2016 Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation, Arizona had 7,310 solar workers in 2016, up 6% from 2015. Arizona ranks 7th in the nation for number of solar jobs. The most common solar jobs in Arizona are installers, manufacturers, salespeople, and project managers. Utility-scale solar projects also create hundreds of temporary construction jobs. For example, the construction of the Agua Caliente solar farm created about 400 construction jobs. Some of the biggest solar companies in Arizona are Sun Valley Solar & Electric, SolarCity, SunRun, and Vivint Solar.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Arizona Utility Companies
The largest utility companies in Arizona are Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), and Tucson Electric Power (TEP). Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
Arizona Public Service (APS)
- Serves approximately 2.7 million electric customers
- Founded in 1885
- Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ
Salt River Project (SRP)
- Serves approximately 1 million electric customers
- Founded in 1903
- Headquartered in Tempe, AZ
Tucson Electric Power (TEP)
- Serves approximately 417,000 electric customers
- Founded in 1892
- Headquartered in Tucson, AZ
Arcadia Power’s Arizona Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia Power’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Arizona residents:
As an Arizona utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Arizona. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Arizona utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.