A major Arizona utility wants to install rooftop solar panels on thousands of homes for free.

In approved by state regulators, the request filed Monday by Arizona Public Service Co. would allow the Phoenix-based company to put rooftop systems on 3,000 homes.

APS says its proposal is a way to provide access to solar to consumers who can't afford to buy or lease a rooftop system and satisfy state mandates for use of renewable energy.

Under the proposal, consumers would get savings through monthly credits and APS would pay for installation and maintenance.

APS said its alternative to generating power on customers' rooftops would be to build a large-scale solar plant.

The Arizona Solar Energy Industry Association said APS' proposal amounts to unfair competition because solar companies' customers aren't subsidized.