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Arizona Solar Center Blog

Commentary from Arizona Solar Center Board Members and invited contributors.

While blog entries are initiated by the Solar Center, we welcome dialogue around the posted topics. Your expertise and perspective are highly valued -- so if you haven't logged in and contributed, please do so!

Scottsdale panel drafts changes to rules on solar-panel permits

Scottsdale building and planning officials drafted a policy for solar-panel permit requirements last week that, if implemented, would override the more stringent regulations the city adopted in January. The move was largely in response to backlash from some solar installation companies, who said the regulations imposed unnecessary fees and delays on residential solar-panel projects in Scottsdale that could otherwise be spent on saving energy.

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Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field to get solar shade from APS

Arizona Diamondback fans will get a lesson in solar electricity on their way to games this summer under a $1 million solar shade Arizona Public Service Co. is building at the west entrance to Chase Field.

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Arizona Corporation Commission alters APS’ renewable plan

Arizona Public Service Co. will have a few more changes in its 2011 renewable energy standards plan after the Arizona Corporation Commission altered it Friday. The ACC approved changes that would allow lower incentive rates for solar panels, and removed a proposed feed-in tariff pilot program, among the several changes.

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Students look to curb UA energy use

These "doctors" are hoping their "patients" start to look a little green. The House Energy Doctor program, started in 1986, is a course where graduate architecture students prescribe how buildings can save more energy. This semester, the UA Office of Sustainability suggested the students target the UA campus.

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Easily Fabricated Full-Spectrum Solar Cell

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a solar cell that can respond to virtually the entire solar spectrum and can be made using metalorganic chemical vapor deposition.

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Could SRECs Add Solar Faster than FITs?

Paying solar owners cold hard cash to supply clean power to the grid has proved to be the best way to get more people to actually do it. Two mechanisms for getting instant cash back are SRECs - Solar Renewable Energy Credits and FITs - Feed-in Tariffs.

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Global Solar charges forward with light, frame-free panels

Global Solar Energy Inc. set out 15 years ago to invent a flexible solar power panel for soldiers. Since accomplishing that mission, Global Solar - which operates Arizona's only manufacturing plant for thin-film photovoltaic cells - has had to reinvent itself to adapt to a rapidly changing market.

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Agua Caliente Solar Project Receives $967M Loan Guarantee from DOE

NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) just announced that the 290-megawatt Agua Caliente solar project has received an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee of up to $967 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. NRG's acquisition of the project from First Solar was announced last month and has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

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TEP To Offer Output Of New Solar Project Directly To Customers

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) has unveiled a new 1.6 MW PV project and will offer a new program for its customers that allows them to buy the array's solar energy directly from TEP.

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A Solar Research Park Rises in Phoenix

If you're planning on flying into Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona in the next year, you may notice a new facility rising just south of the airport, the focal point of which-a 75 foot diameter concentrating solar dish-will actually be visible to commuters as they cross the Salt River along Interstate 10.

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Salt River Project to review sustainable portfolio

Salt River Project will be examining its green energy portfolio and soliciting public input on potential changes. SRP, the state's second largest utility, has set goals of having 15 percent of its power provided by sustainable sources by 2025. It is planning public workshops March 3 and 21 as well as April 1 at its PERA Club in Tempe.

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As solar industry expands, increasing need for skills

In a paper called "A solar economy in the American Southwest: Critical next steps," ASU professors Martin J. Pasqualetti and Susan Haag examine what is needed in order to advance Arizona's solar industry, with a focus on education.

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Bringing Rooftops Within Reach

With Arizona's abundant sunshine (and heat!), one might wonder why all our rooftops aren't covered with solar panels. But until recently, people were changing addresses as often as their clothes, making the outlay impractical. A newly formed solar co-op hopes to organize a group-buy to make access to solar easier.

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Solar Panel Maker Moves Work to China

Aided by at least $43 million in assistance from the government of Massachusetts and an innovative solar energy technology, Evergreen Solar emerged in the last three years as the third-largest maker of solar panels in the United States.

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EnviroMission Wins $29.8M in Debt/Equity for Solar Updraft Tower

EnviroMission has secured $29.8 million in debt and equity from AGS Capital Group. According to a press release, the debt/equity agreement "will provide EnviroMission with the ability to place EnviroMission securities with AGS Capital Group on an as-required basis or at intervals when market conditions support a debt/equity transaction."

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Opinion: Arizona can lead country in clean energy

Arizona has an extraordinary opportunity to lead the nation in clean electricity production, if there is widespread support for a shared vision and strong leadership to put it in place. A recent study by Mathew Croucher of Arizona State University's Business School contains a list of states that would reap the greatest benefit from deploying solar energy for their own consumption and exporting to other states. Arizona tops that list.

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EU Projected To Exceed 2020 Renewable Energy Goals

The European Union's (EU) 27 countries will exceed their target of meeting 20% of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020, according to an analysis from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

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In California and Arizona, Governors Emphasize Renewable Energy Goals

As Jerry Brown (D) retook the reigns of California, and Jan Brewer (R) won her first election to the governorship of Arizona, both made clear in their inaugural addresses that renewables like solar and wind are imperative to both states.

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Solar Power Rises In 2011

With the growth in the number of plants being built and the increasing cost competitiveness, 2011 looks like solar energy could start to come into its own in the U.S. Even with the entrance of a Republican-controlled Congress, some see a reasonably bright future for solar in the U.S...

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Opinion: Give renewables a fighting chance in energy market

Despite the slow economy, it's been an eventful year on the local renewable energy front. In part, that momentum has been driven by state mandates and federal tax credits. But those jumpstarts have been accompanied by some creative approaches that will pay off in the future as the cost of carbon-based fuels continues to climb.

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