• New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance

    While there is a growing market for organic solar cells ­­– they contain materials that are cheaper, more abundant, and more environmentally friendly than those used in typical solar panels – they also tend to be less efficient in converting sunlight to electricity than conventional solar cells. Now, scientists who are members of the Center for Computational Study of Excited-State Phenomena in Read more
  • Know Your Rights

    Arizona law protects individual homeowners’ private property rights to solar access by dissolving any local covenant, restriction or condition attached to a property deed that restricts the use of solar energy. This law sustained a legal challenge in 2000. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of homeowners in a lawsuit filed by their homeowners association seeking to Read more
  • Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest

    The Agua Caliente solar farm near Yuma features First Solar’s thin-film cadmium-telluride (CdTe) solar modules. Located 65 miles east of the city of Yuma, Arizona, this plant is one of the world’s largest operational PV power plants with 290MW (AC) connected to the electricity grid. Read more
  • Solar Hot Water

    There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't. The typical solar water heater is comprised of solar collectors and a well-insulated storage tank. The solar collector is a network of pipes that gathers the sun's energy, transforms its radiation into heat, and then transfers that heat to either Read more
  • Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    (Information provided by DSIRE - Last reviewed 02/19/2009) Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit State: Federal Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Fuel Cells, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Other Solar Electric Technologies Applicable Sectors: Residential Amount: 30% Maximum Incentive: Solar-electric systems placed in service before 2009: $2,000Solar-electric systems placed in service after 2008: no maximumSolar water heaters placed in service before Read more
  • Solar Building Design in Arizona

    The idea of using the sun to meet the energy needs in our buildings has been with us since the time of the Greeks, with some of the design manifestations even evident in the prehistoric structures of Arizona and the Southwest. There is a great historic tradition for Arizona buildings that utilize our most abundant resource, and the current increases Read more
  • How Not to- Battery Connections

    Photo shows the situation after a battery discharge test at 300 amps was terminated on a 1530 AH IBE battery string when one post melted. During the discharge test all cell voltages are logged. The sum of the cell voltages was 2.73 volts lower than the 48-volt string voltage. This is an average of 118 mv per inter-cell connection, 5-10 Read more
  • 1 New Discovery Could Improve Organic Solar Cell Performance
  • 2 Know Your Rights
  • 3 Agua Caliente PV Power Plant Among World’s Largest
  • 4 Solar Hot Water
  • 5 Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
  • 6 Solar Building Design in Arizona
  • 7 How Not to- Battery Connections


  1. Solar Center Blog
  2. Guest Blogs
Lucy Mason
06 January 2018

Wishing you a wonderful and Happy New Year!

The year 2017 has gone by quickly, and AriSEIA has accomplished a full and active agenda to further solar and renewable energy in Arizona. 

Geoff Sutton
25 November 2017

In the desert south-west the intense sunshine and long summer days result in uncomfortable and even dangerously high temperatures for about four months.

Will add Guest Blog content here
Fri, Feb 23, 2018
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Some things to pay attention to in Arizona

SRP Board Elections April 3, 2018

The policies set by the SRP Board of Directors have had severe impact on the installation of residential PV systems in the SRP service area in Arizona, reducing the rate of new residential PV installations by 97% due to a major solar unfriendly change in rate schedules. SRP is a public power utility (in contrast to the investor owned utilities that are governed by the Arizona Corporation Commission) and as such is governed by its elected Board of Directors.

A slate of five Clean Energy candidates, Randy Miller (at-large 14), Corey Hawkey (at-large 12), Sheila Motomatsu (Seat 10), Jeffrey Grout (Seat 8) and Dennis Michael Burke (Seat 6), are running for positions on the Board of Directors.  These candidates will advocate for pro-solar policies at SRP.  Two pro-solar candidates elected to the SRP board in 2016 are already making a positive difference in SRP policies, but more votes are needed around the table.

Voting in these elections is not simple.  A person must request a ballot in order to vote and must own property in votable lands.  See this SRP Map for votable lands, or this custom map See this map to find where the pro-solar candidates are running.  For more details, see the SRP link on SRP governance and elections at  https://www.srpnet.com/elections/Default.aspx

Now is the time to make sure if you have a vote, request a ballot: http://register.srpcleanenergy.org/ or call 602-236-3048. SRP will mail ballots starting March 7th 2018. You must mail in your ballot for the Candidates listed above before March 31st 2018!


The Arizona Solar Energy Association (ASEA), State Chapter of the American Solar Energy Society ASES), will be holding meetings in a follow-up to the-long awaited updated ASES‚  Chapters handbook and directives.

ASES evolution, in response to some problematic economic and operational conditions, has resulted in a hearty and robust context for the present and the future. ASEA is now responding with an appropriate updating, through local and statewide discussion. 

Interim Chair, Andy Gerl, a past ASEA Chair and Board member, is making arrangements for Arizona solar advocates and supporters, members and non-members, to receive both an update re: ASES adaptation and changes, and to discuss solar in Arizona and the “reboot" of the ASEA  context, goals and objectives, within the context of varied renewable energy groups within the State, such as AriSEIA (the solar trade association); various sustainability groups; Green Building organizations; the recently formed solar hot water businesses non-profit entity; research and development at the universities; and others.

For more information about the ASEA Reboot discussions, contact Andy at andrew@blazingsolar.com  or 602-799-5942


Public Meetings:

Green Building Lecture - Economic Value of Green: Knowledge is EmPOWERing

Scottsdale’s Green Building Lecture season kicks off with a panel of industry leaders on the economic value of green. 
These free programs run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the dates listed below at the Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road. RSVPs are not needed.

Green Building Lecture Series

Living an Edible Landscape Life

Date: Thursday, Feb. 1

Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Join urban gardener, Joan Baron, and cooking expert, Melanie Albert, as they share the benefits and how-to's of growing your own health foods, herbs, edible flowers and fruit trees in our desert environment. Learn about our planting and harvesting seasons and enjoy sampling freshly prepared vegetables during the program. 


Joan Baron is an environmental artist, urban garden educator and desert explorer.

Joan loves to grow food wherever she can find some space! This includes her alley, where she has created a unique project called "Food in the Alley". It is a demonstration garden and laboratory where everything from Moringa trees and sugar cane flourish along with kale, swiss chard and tomatoes, AND, anyone is welcome to come by and harvest what they need. This is just one example of Joan's socially engaged art practice!

Melanie Albert is an intuitive cooking expert and author of "A New View of Healthy Eating".

Melanie is the founder of Experience Nutrition Group, LLC and loves teaching and creating hands-on opportunities for people to see how easy and fun it is to prepare delicious and nutritious meals and snacks for the whole family. She is a regular workshop teacher and can be found shopping at local farmers markets - always excited and supportive about what can be grown in Arizona! She encourages us to eat mindfully and cook with culinary skills and your intuition.

Joan and Melanie will prepare some tasty samplers for all those in attendance. Learn how to grow your own vegetables and why eating local and In- Season Organic Roots and Veggies is the best approach to a healthy lifestyle. They will share their easy favorite recipes for the winter season with ingredients from their gardens! Come join the fun and take home a free gift!

For more information see the 'Next Lecture' section of this link: http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/green-building-program

The  scheduled lecture series includes:

  • April 5, 2018 – Building with earth and Mass in the Desert 
  • June 7, 2018 – Heating and Cooling with Ductless Mini-Splits

Further information on this worthwhile program

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azsolarcenter "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” --Winston... https://t.co/YZUiXLzsKz
azsolarcenter The Sun Day Blog: The future is not what it used to be. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, the question has... https://t.co/lSR5RFewJm
azsolarcenter Novermber 5, 2016 -- APS, pro-solar group together spend $6 million on Arizona Corporation Commission races: The... https://t.co/5xyq4EsoFm
azsolarcenter November 3, 2016 Solar Battles Playing Out On Arizona Ballot This Election: It may not be at the top of the... https://t.co/uYSRxv97YR
azsolarcenter November 4, 2016: Utility spends $3.5 million to keep Arizona Corporation Commission all-GOP: The state’s largest... https://t.co/imqk6z2sDU
azsolarcenter October 25, 2016: 42 States (and DC) try to screw with solar The 50 States of Solar Policy Report by the NC... https://t.co/JBYTzpf2ui
azsolarcenter October 24, 2016 -- Future of independent solar energy at stake in Corporation Commission raceL The long-term... https://t.co/D6jy4I5Ci0
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azsolarcenter October 16, 2016: Arizona Corporation Commission DebateL Five candidates running for three open seats on the... https://t.co/tm0XLl6CqG
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azsolarcenter There is No Plan(et) B: Climate change is no longer an issue that our politicians can kick down the road for... https://t.co/KHZzajZc9K
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/JmZSHlmBUI
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/rBgkaWKDs6
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/RzXaQACpPR
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/t1fKNTPwIB
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/dWEKk3QR6H
azsolarcenter High Noon: Nearly 40 years ago, President Carter proclaimed the dawn of the solar age. If President Carter was... https://t.co/y4vhOpjfh1
azsolarcenter September 29, 2016: To cover a utility's fixed costs, are demand charges or time-of-use (TOU) rates superior?... https://t.co/RgneQWNKyM
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: Arizona Public Service not only rejected an Arizona Corporation commissioner’s request to... https://t.co/iip6RwoOOS
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azsolarcenter September 18, 2016: UniSource Energy officials have shelved plans to use of land surroundingMohave Community... https://t.co/eXmHxo03wQ
azsolarcenter September 13, 2016: The city of Sedona spent about 90 minutes at its September 13 council meeting discussing... https://t.co/LHV2QcsvYt
azsolarcenter September 15, 2016: New solar research projects at Arizona State University will receive $3.75 million in funding... https://t.co/N20NYLWxGy
azsolarcenter September 25, 2016: The parable of the frog and boiling water is hundreds of years old. It has been used... https://t.co/O5PYqvxIJg

Arizona still a power in solar power, despite other states’ gains

The Solana facility near Gila Bend uses thousands of curved mirrors to focus sunlight,
which heats fluid that turns a turbine, creating electricity in the process. This plant
went online in 2012.

 Phoenix Business Journal

Jan 3, 2017, 8:09pm MST

WASHINGTON – A month after it announced plans to develop a new solar power plant in Gila Bend, Vasari Energy was back in November to double down on its Arizona investment, expanding the plant’s capacity to power more than 7,000 homes.

For California-based Vasari Energy it was a smart business move to bolster the company’s planned solar portfolio. But experts said it was just more evidence that Arizona is an ideal state for utility-scale solar projects, a status they expect will continue as the infrastructure needed for solar plants becomes more affordable.

“Arizona is a terrific place,” said Sean Gallagher, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s vice president of state affairs. “It’s got a lot of sun, a lot of clear days. There’s been a lot of installations on utility-scale projects. Which really contribute a lot to the numbers.”

Arizona currently ranks second in total installed solar capacity after California, the nation’s undisputed leader, despite rising challenges from new competitors across the South, such as North Carolina and Texas.

More than 100 solar facilities are operating or under construction in the state, according to SEIA data.


These projects could have a large effect on the Arizona economy, said Auriane Koster, a solar expert with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. The development of the solar industry in the state has the potential to attract and keep a skilled workforce.

“A private investor coming in and doing a large solar plant is going to increase the economy in the state. That brings in more money in the state. It provides jobs,” she said.

Nearly 7,000 people in Arizona were employed in a range of solar industry jobs in 2015, according to a jobs census produced by the Solar Foundation. It’s a factor that Vasari Energy considered when deciding to move to Gila Bend, said Vasari Executive Vice President Sam Lipman.

“We also have to look at what we give back to the community with these projects. Obviously being a solar company, we look at things a little differently,” he said.

Besides the environmental benefits, the solar industry “can provide some high-paying construction jobs and good revenue to an area that is relatively remote.”

Once online, the planned Vasari plant could produce 140 megawatts of electricity for homes across the state from Gila Bend, a town that encourages energy companies to build solar plants through special zoning rules.

It would not be the largest solar energy producer in the state, but by solar-production standards the Vasari plant would be relatively large, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Solar-panel plants typically produce between one and 50 megawatts of power.

By comparison, Arizona’s fossil-fuel power plants are capable of producing between 200 and 2,000 megawatts. The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station can produce 3,937 megawatts of electricity, a commission spokeswoman said.

But in addition to its environmental and economic impacts, solar power boasts another benefit: When energy consumption is at its highest, so is its power source, the sun.

“It really helps in that solar is a peak-power fuel, so the highest, most costly part of energy (consumption) is during the daytime, the utility has to go out and buy power,” Lipman said. “If they have a ready source of daytime peak power it gives them more reliability.”

The more sunlight the panels collect during those hours, the more energy the plant can provide to utilities when customers need it the most.

Gallagher said utility companies in Arizona are becoming more comfortable with the idea of buying solar energy from large-scale solar projects to meet Arizona’s renewable portfolio standard. Arizona pledged 15 percent of energy generation would be renewable by 2025.


Will Trumping Obama’s Interior Department Help Solar?

December 20, 2016
By Andrew C. Bell
The solar industry is large enough to seek U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) regulatory relief, irrespective of any debate over climate change.
The President-elect is skeptical of anthropogenic climate change. He made clear on the campaign trail that he intends to roll back regulations affecting domestic oil and gas and coal production on public lands. But Mr. Trump has also evinced a more pragmatic, market-based “all of the above” approach to energy. Preserving and creating jobs appear to be some of his highest priorities. At 300,000 jobs to date, the solar industry is large enough to seek and possibly obtain regulatory relief in stride with more traditional resource extraction industries, irrespective of any debate over climate change.
Many Obama Administration initiatives will be reviewed by the Trump Administration to “identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that kill jobs and bloat government.” This article shows how Interior initiatives focusing on the solar industry may be modified as part of the Trump Administration’s broader effort to reduce regulation in general.
Landscape-Scale Strategies
The concept of landscape-scale public land planning has been a hallmark of Interior Secretary Jewell’s tenure. But developers across many industries believe Interior has used the concept to sharply restrict multiple-uses of public lands.
The new Administration will likely take a long and critical look at Interior’s landscape-level efforts. Chief among these will be Interior’s 67 million-acre Federal Sage-Grouse Strategy, which is currently subject to eight pending legal challenges. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “BLM Planning 2.0” rule, which seeks to update BLM’s planning regulations with landscape-scale concepts, is another example. The new Administration’s scrutiny of these planning efforts could extend to recent large-scale planning initiatives focusing on renewable energy.
Western Solar Plan
Interior’s six-state, 100-million-acre 2012 Western Solar Plan is one such plan. While presented as a planning initiative designed to encourage utility-scale solar energy, many in the industry view the massive series of land use plan amendments (LUPAs) as a hindrance, in no small part because the plan removed 79 million acres of BLM lands from development. The plan did set aside a quarter million acres as preferential solar zones, but the best management practices imposed on those zones have often been viewed as much more restrictive than would otherwise be the case.
When the oil and gas, mining and agribusiness industries seek relief from the new Administration for the Federal Sage-Grouse Strategy, the solar industry could collaborate to gain an audience over the Western Solar Plan as well. There is a reasonable chance of revision because the Western Solar Plan can be modified administratively by a series of LUPAs instead of by formal rulemaking under the Administrative Procedure Act or by act of Congress.
Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (“DRECP”)
The DRECP is a 22.5-million-acre LUPA that covers most of the southern quarter of the state of California, including some of the best solar and wind energy resources in the state. Initially presented as a tool for streamlining endangered species permitting for wind and solar projects on public and private lands, the DRECP has received a cold reception, with California counties notably refusing to sign on to the private lands segment of the plan.
BLM nevertheless pressed forward in September 2016 by adopting the plan insofar as it applied to BLM lands. That decision designated roughly 6.5 million acres of lands as off limits to any form of development. The DRECP process reduced California BLM lands open to solar development under the Western Solar Plan by more than 50 percent, with further restrictions imposed on the remaining acres. While all indications point to a Trump Administration that will not favor renewable energy development over fossil fuels, landscape-level LUPAs like the DRECP risk modification if they are perceived to limit economic growth through unnecessary regulation.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
On May 26, 2015, US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a Notice of Intent outlining a proposal for a rule requiring a multi-layered permitting program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The permitting program would regulate private activities that inadvertently injure or kill members of most bird species in the U.S.
The program would affect a wide range of industries and activities, reaching well beyond the renewable energy and oil and gas sectors that have been the subject of enforcement actions over the last several years. If finalized, the proposal almost certainly would draw legal challenges from industry stakeholders. No progress has been made since the initial announcement, however. The Trump Administration is unlikely to take the process any further.
MBTA enforcement may also be influenced by the new Administration. FWS has relied on Court of Appeal decisions in the 2nd and 10th Circuits to enforce (or threaten to enforce) the MBTA’s strict criminal liability provisions against multiple wind and oil and gas facilities, sometimes resulting in multi-million-dollar settlements.
However, the 5th, 8th and 9th Circuits have disagreed with this interpretation, holding that the MBTA applies to purposeful activities only (such as unlicensed hunting) and does not apply to unintentional “take” of migratory birds. The Interior Secretary under the Trump Administration could rely on the 5th, 8th and 9th Circuit court precedents to issue a regulation, or at a minimum, an internal policy memorandum, that prohibits enforcement of the MBTA against non-purposeful forms of take.
This could help the solar industry. In June 2016, Region 8 of FWS released a draft bird and bat conservation strategy template that replicates similar guidance for the wind industry by recommending significant monitoring burdens for all photovoltaic facilities over 20 MW. While not mandatory, FWS would exercise “prosecutorial discretion” over enforcement of the MBTA in exchange for compliance with the guidance. Region 8 has indicated the draft template could be replicated nationally.
Industry members have opposed the draft, in no small part because of a lack of conclusive data showing a “lake effect” that causes disproportionate avian mortalities at PV projects.
FWS Region 8 lies within the 9th Circuit. If the Trump Administration eases enforcement of the MBTA, it would be a small step to extend its directive to Region 8’s proposed guidance as well.
Wind and Solar Competitive Leasing Rule
On Nov. 10, Interior released a final rule to establish a framework for the designation of preferred designated leasing areas (DLAs) for wind and solar projects that would be subject to competitive leasing rather than the current first-in-time, first-in-right regime.
The rule would also codify certain wind and solar bonding, rental, megawatt capacity fee, and pre-application policies implemented by BLM for the past five years without formal rulemaking. The solar and wind industries have strenuously opposed the rule.
Whether the competitive leasing concept remains will likely depend on whether the Trump Administration decides to alter the analogous competitive leasing regime applied to public land oil and gas leases for the past 30 years. The top-down DLA zoning concept might strike a Trump Administration as contrary to a market-based approach. The megawatt capacity fee may be perceived as an illicit tax outside Interior’s statutory mandate.
However, the final rule likely will be published in the Federal Register before Dec. 22, 2016 and therefore take effect before the President-elect is sworn in. If that is the case, rescinding or modifying the competitive leasing rule would require a new rulemaking. The formal rulemaking process may handicap efforts to modify a rule that focuses almost exclusively on renewable energy facilities.
There is little doubt Interior will place greater emphasis on the consumptive use of resources under the Trump Administration. In addition to reducing restrictions on fossil-fuel development, President-elect Trump’s focus on creating jobs and reducing regulation in general could extend regulatory change to the solar industry as well, irrespective of climate change persuasions.


Green Building Lecture Series - Season Opener: Can Green Homes become the standard?

Sample only- Need to find out how to limit displayed length

Date: Thursday, Nov. 5 2015
Time: 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Title: Can Green Homes become the standard in Scottsdale? A Look at Scottsdale's New Green Home Standards

Location: Scottsdale Granite Reef Senior Center, 1700 N. Granite Reef Road (northwest corner of McDowell and Granite Reef, behind the convenience store)

We’ve been busy updating standards for what home dwellers expect in a green healthy home. Why does it matter and how we can do better? Get the answers to these questions and more at the Nov. 5 Green Building lecture season opener. Participants will get an overview of the city’s updated green home standards and will hear about practical applications from Alan Kravitz, Bella Verde Homes; Tom Norris, Norris Architects; and Kevin Edwards, Edwards Design Group. They will discuss how the new green home standards are being used in their projects to create healthier, water resourceful and energy efficient environments which include “living fences,” developer supplied vegetable gardens, rain water collection, gray water reuse, cooler paving materials, ground source heating and cooling, solar powered micro-grid, and universal design for aging in place.


  • Alan M. Kravitz, AIA, President, Bella Verde Homes
  • Kevin Edwards, Principal, Edwards Design Group
  • Tom Norris, AIA, Norris Architects

For more information about this program, go to City of Scottsdale - Green Building Program

Admission: The lecture series is sponsored by the Scottsdale Green Building Program. The lectures are free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

Contact: Anthony Floyd, green building program manager, city of Scottsdale, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,


  • Welcome to the Arizona Solar Center

     This is your source for solar and renewable energy information in Arizona. Explore various technologies, including photovoltaics, solar water heating, solar architecture, solar cooking and wind power. Keep up to date on the latest industry news. Follow relevant lectures, expositions and tours. Whether you are a homeowner looking to become more energy efficient, a student learning the science behind the technologies or an industry professional, you will find valuable information here.
  • About The Arizona Solar Center

    Arizona Solar Center Mission- The mission of the Arizona Solar Center is to enhance the utilization of renewable energy, educate Arizona's residents on solar technology developments, support commerce and industry in the development of solar and other sustainable technologies and coordinate these efforts throughout the state of Arizona. About the Arizona Solar Center- The Arizona Solar Center (AzSC) provides a broad-based understanding of solar energy, especially as it pertains to Arizona. Registered Read More
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