• 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
Mon, Mar 19, 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

Our Twitter Feed

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
azsolarcenter October 13, 2016 -- State policy matters: It is very easy to get distracted by the dog-and-pony show of this... https://t.co/MH7mEMg9MC
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 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
azsolarcenter September 22, 2016: The Salt River Project (SRP) board of directors has agreed to purchase energy produced by... https://t.co/xYegEuiI43
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



APS STAR Center redeployed
(December 2011, text provided by APS)

For the last 25 years, the Solar Test and Research (STAR) Center is where Arizona Public Service has worked with manufacturers, universities and government labs to propel technological advancements in converting solar energy into electricity. The goal? To find technologies that would allow solar energy to become a viable resource option for customers.

Success on that front means the STAR Center takes on a new role.

Personnel and focus have transitioned from technology research to solar operations and maintenance. The chief focus is to provide cost-effective support to ensure optimal system production and research the long-term reliability of our solar investments.

Today, more than 21,500 megawatts of solar have been developed globally, with APS having more than 500 megawatts either online or in development. Manufacturers the world over produce roof-integrated tiles; mono- or poly-crystalline photovoltaic panels; solar box ovens; evacuated tube collectors and glazed flat plate collectors; hybrid solar-thermal systems; hybrid solar lighting systems; solar pumps, fans, and switchable windows; mirrors and tracking systems used in trough/parabolic mirror concentrators; and thermal storage systems. And while listing innovations, I’d be remiss not to mention the increasing deployment of passive solar design – well-known to historians and architects, but never studied on site.

This technological cornucopia has overflowed since the STAR Center opened in 1985, and innovation will doubtless continue.

Now, APS is looking to find solutions to the next set of challenges associated with renewable energy. Namely, how the intermittency from solar and wind resources affects APS’s ability to provide reliable and affordable electricity to customers.

So, while the STAR Center will no longer be open to testing and research of new solar technologies, the solar installations currently in place will remain in operation. A majority of the solar panels at STAR will continue to operate and provide clean energy to customers on the APS grid. Those panels that were removed were re-deployed to other solar projects or returned to the manufacturers.

Further, the STAR Center is now also serving as a working laboratory for those learning to install solar electric systems – or for installation companies who are pursuing continuing education opportunities. Though its mission has changed, APS STAR Center will enjoy a long future of service to APS customers and the solar industry.

Contributed by Renee Guillory, DE Partnership Manager, Arizona Public Service



Past and Present Research


High-concentration PV

PV Test Rig

80 kW PV Power Plant

Inverter Testing


Technology Menu

Our technical data is organized into the following categories:

Will Rooftop Solar Really Add to Utility Costs?

By Suma Jothibasu and Surya Santoso


Regulations in most states obligate utilities to derive some of their  electricity generating capacity from renewable sources. Unsurprisingly, the most  widely available options—wind and solar—dominate. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that by 2050, solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation will contribute 16 percent of the world’s electricity, and 20 percent of that  capacity will come from residential installations.

By offering local generation, residential or rooftop PV reduces the need for transmission facilities  to move power from large generating stations to distribution substations. But the effect on the distribution grid is less straightforward. The conventional distribution grid is designed for neither two-way power flow nor large generation capacity. So the prevailing thought is that  the grid will need a costly upgrade to accommodate the high PV penetration. Our study within  the Full Cost of Electricity (http://energy.utexas.edu/the-full-cost-of-electricity-fce/) program aims to estimate the cost of maximizing residential PV capacity without any grid impacts. The bottom line? We found  that  even without hardware upgrades to the distribution circuits, such circuits can handle significant solar generation.

We looked at it three ways: Allowing the largest PV generation

1. without making operational changes to the circuit or upgrading the infrastructure;

2. with a few modest operational changes in the equipment already  installed; and

3. with additional infrastructure upgrades such as smart inverters and energy storage.

(Note that  accommodating the first two capacities does not require any integration costs, beyond  some minimal cost associated with the operational changes in the existing  devices.)

Depending on a distribution circuit’s characteristics, the maximum PV capacities it can handle range  from as low as 15.5 percent of the median value of the daytime peak load demand (2.6 megawatts in one particular circuit) to more  than 100 percent (3.87 MW in another circuit). These results suggest that  significant rooftop PV generation can be integrated in the grid with little or no additional  Photo:  Lester Lefkowitz cost to utilities and their  customers and without causing any adverse grid impacts. In fact, our study shows that  at such levels, impacts due to PV generation are either non-existent or can be addressed by appropriate circuit  operational changes.


The amount  of a photovoltaic capacity that can be added to a distribution circuit without violating its operating constraints depends on the specific nature  of the system. The minimum hosting capacity, shown as Circuit C, is 15 percent. The maximum hosting capacity with no changes to the distribution circuit, Circuit B, is 104 percent of median daytime peak  load.

In one example, an operational change was able to boost photovoltaic capacity from 15 percent to 47 percent. The PV hosting capacity of the circuit  in that  same  example can be boosted from 47 percent to 80 percent if as many  as one-third of the photovoltaic installations include smart inverter technologies.

Although adding energy  storage would also increase hosting capacity, we find that  the cost of energy storage systems would be significant, and so it is unjustifiable if the sole purpose is to increase PV penetration.

For details of which circuit  characteristics affect photovoltaic capacity, as well as other calculations, read the complete white paper “Integrating Photovoltaic Generation (http://energy.utexas.edu/files/2016/09/UTAustin_FCe_Int_PV_Generation_2016.pdf)[PDF], part  of the Full Cost of Electricity Study conducted by the University of Texas Austin Energy  Institute (http://energy.utexas.edu/). (IEEE Spectrum is blogging about the study  and linking to the white papers as they are released.)

 Suma Jothibasu is a graduate student and Surya Santoso (http://aspires.ece.utexas.edu/bio.html) directs the Laboratory for Advanced Studies in Electric Power and Integration of Renewable Energy Systems, within the Department of Electrical Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas Austin.

Original article:




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  • 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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