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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!

Energy-efficient subdivision opens in Gilbert, AZ

Meritage Homes opened its first energy-efficient subdivision in Gilbert, with houses aiming to cut energy costs by 80 percent. The 210-home Lyon's Gate subdivision includes homes that meet or exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Homes ratings, officials said.

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AZ Solar industry gets guidance on tax credit

Utility incentives for solar can be considered taxable, but an IRS ruling could save customers more money on residential installations. American Solar Electric received guidance on a tax credit question the industry has struggled with for nearly two years.

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Donated Solar Panels Bring Light to Rural Tanzanian Communities

More than 150,000 people now have access to clean and safe renewable energy amid the rural landscape of Tanzania, Africa, thanks to a generous donation of 200 solar panels by TÜV Rheinland PTL based in Tempe, AZ, part of the world's largest solar and photovoltaic testing network.

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Arizona Renewable Energy News Sources

The following are websites and reporters/commentators who regularly provide news and/or opinion on renewable energy topics, particularly as it relates to Arizona:

Disclaimer: The sources listed above are provided as a service to our constituency. The opinions expressed are those of the respective authors and are fully independent of the Arizona Solar Center and it's Board.

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Africa's Largest Slum Watches World Cup Via Solar Power

This year, thanks to a non-profit project that teaches youth about solar technology, Kibera's soccer fans have the chance to watch World Cup games live from South Africa for the very first time on a television powered by solar energy.

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Governor signs bill to help solar liquid fuels industry

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 2370, a bill that will help the state foster the development of a fledgling renewable energy industry. A signing ceremony, hosted by ASU President Michael Crow, was held at MacroTechnology Works in the ASU Research Park.

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Opinion: Arizona’s Other Problem - Big Coal Power Line Threatens Solar Boom, Grasslands, Pioneer Heritage

The showdown in sunny Arizona now turns to clean energy versus dirty coal. Some residents claim their borderlands utility company is locking its customers into a costly and toxic dirty energy future to cater to the potential demands of a Canadian mining operation.

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Opinion: Solar projects will protect Arizona's water supply, not threaten it

Arizonans don't need to worry that solar energy will guzzle our water supply. In a June 5 column, Sen. Jon Kyl raised concerns about a technology called "conventional concentrating solar power" (CSP), which uses the sun's heat to generate electricity.

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Sen. Jon Kyl's original Arizona Republic article from June 5, 2010 is reproduced on the Senator's website here.

Also, previous responses to Sen Kyl's article can be found by:

  • Rhone Resch of SEIA on June 11 here and by
  • Dr. Martin Pasquelettin of ASU on June 15 here.

 

 

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Renewable future hinges on Arizona Corporation Commission Election

The race for two Arizona Corporation Commission seats is heating up with the state's effort to become a solar powerhouse possibly hinging on who is elected.

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Also, see a list of the candidates and their views on Arizona Investment Council's Corporation Commission Candidate Survey Response Page.

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Pierce, industry weigh in against solar regulation

An administrative law judge's opinion that companies providing solar service agreements to schools should be classified as regulated utilities is drawing criticism from the industry, and one official is moving to block the change.

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Opinion: Kyl's swipe at solar is way off-base

Opinion piece by Dr. Martin J. Pasqualetti:
While Sen. Jon Kyl was correct to be worried about the water evaporated to generate electricity in Arizona, he took a potentially harmful swipe at the very industry that is poised to contribute mightily to Arizona's struggling economy ("Arizona needs solar technologies that use less water," My Turn, June 5).

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Sen. Jon Kyl's original Arizona Republic article from June 5, 2010 is reproduced on the Senator's website here.

Also see opinion piece by Rhone Resch of SEIA: "Kyl's solar article omitted point," from June 11 here.

 

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Request for Comment on Maricopa County "By-Right" Solar & Wind Ordinance

Second Draft of Solar/Small Wind Text Amendment

The public is encouraged to review and comment on a proposed Text Amendment (TA2009014) to the Maricopa County Zoning Ordinance relating to by-right solar and small wind electrical generating equipment.

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BLM sets rental rate for solar plant sites

The Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday what it will charge in rent for solar-power plants on its acreage across the West and said the prices will encourage development while bringing revenue to the U.S. Treasury.

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Support Growing for Solar on the White House

A group of companies and advocacy organizations are reaching out to the Obama administration, hoping he'll accept the offer for a free solar PV system for the White House to prove the U.S. is serious about developing renewables.

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Salt River Project seeks proposals for solar power

Salt River Project has issued a request for proposals for electricity generated from utility-scale, ground-based photovoltaic power plants, preferably within the greater Phoenix area.

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Selection Made to Monitor Solar Energy Production at 14 Arizona Schools

Draker Labs, a leading provider of monitoring solutions for institutional and commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, has been selected by Photovoltaic Systems Manufacturing (PSM) to monitor PV systems that will be installed at 14 Arizona-based schools.

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Alternative energy growth in Arizona dependent on new infrastructure

Renewable-energy companies from Florida to Spain have their sights on Arizona, submitting applications for more than 80 solar and wind power plants across the state valued at tens of billions of dollars. But no more than a few of the plants will be able to get their energy to customers without new high-voltage transmission lines.

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University Initiatives

The following university entities are involved in developing solar and renewable energy technologies as well as facilitating their increased implementation:

  • AzRISE at University of Arizona: www.arizona.edu/...azrise
    AzRISE (Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy) creates multi-disciplinary partnerships integrating research, economics, public policy and education.
  • Lightworks at Arizona State University: asulightworks.com
    ASU Lightworks is an umbrella organization of laboratories, departments, research centers and individual researchers with a focus on various forms of alternative energy sources, primarily solar, bioenergy and energy storage.
  • SES at Northern Arizona University: ses.nau.edu
    The Sustainable Energy Solutions (SES) Group provides society with broadly educated energy experts and new technologies, and helps shape energy decision-making in both the private and public sectors while increasing the public's energy literacy.
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Arizona Corporation Commission approves resource planning rules

The ACC has given the green light to new resource planning rules for utilities. The rules require that utilities file a 10-year plan every two years for companies to identify where they are getting their power, including how they will meet the state's renewable energy standards.

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NREL Study Shows Power Grid Can Accommodate Large Increase In Wind And Solar Generation

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating enough wind and solar energy capacity into the grid to produce 35 percent of its electricity by 2017. The study finds that this target is technically feasible and does not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but does require key changes to current operational practice.

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For additional analysis, see Release of the "Western Wind and Solar Integration Study" by the Stoel Rives Renewable Energy Initiative.

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