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!

West Valley cities flex solar muscles

Cities lower fees to install home systems; energy firms courted

The West Valley is sprouting green technology as the buzz about renewable energy grows. Environmental concerns, national security interests and the quest to diversify the economy have led to a push for alternative-energy resources at the federal, state and local level.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. I am writing a paper on solar energy for school. Where do I find information on this topic? Fast answer
  2. Is the Arizona Solar Center hiring? Where can I find a job in the renewable energy sector? Fast answer
  3. Are there organizations in Arizona that offer internships in solar energy? Fast answer
  4. Photovoltaics (PV)
  5. Solar water heating
  6. Passive solar
  7. What solar energy events/lectures can I attend? AzSC link
  8. Where can I find current solar energy news highlights? AzSC link
  9. Where can I find other sources of information about:
  10. Where do I find solar energy books and other literature? AzSC link
  11. How is solar used and energy reduced here in the desert southwest? AzSC link
  12. What Arizona utility companies are currently using photovoltaic (PV) systems? Fast answer
  13. What is "Power Tower" and how can it produce 10 million watts of electricity? AzSC link (Sandia National Labs "R&D 100" Awards 2000 PDF file - 1.34MB)
  14. What are the mirrors and solar panels near the intersection of University and McClintock in Tempe? AzSC link
  15. What university departments offer curriculum and degrees in solar energy in Arizona? AzSC link
  16. Is there a required "solar contractors" license in Arizona? Fast answer
  17. Solar cooking - I am making a solar cooker. What is the best absorbing material or paint that I can use to coat the surface in order to maximize solar heating? Fast answer
  18. Tax Credits - Is an individual who designs and installs his or her own solar energy device entitled to take the solar energy credit? Fast answer
  19. Solar Panel Size - If you have a solar panel with 25 individual panels, is it really different compared to one large panel of the same size. Why is it different? Fast answer
  20. Where can I find data on the solar angle-of-direct-incidence for various times of day and year? NREL link.
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Yuma a potential hub of green technology

In an effort to act on President Obama's jobs summit of Dec. 3, a series of forums are sounding out rural communities' perspective of how best to expand employment. Alan Stephens, U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development state director, arrived from Phoenix to get input Monday from community members [in Yuma].

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Happy Holidays Green Reminders

  • Over 60 years of life, it is estimated that the average conifer tree will absorb 1 TON of Carbon Dioxide.
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of an artificial tree to that below a living tree takes 20 years of re-use.
    • Suggestion: buy a potted tree that can be replanted after the holidays; if you do get a cut tree, find your local after Christmas tree recycling facility.
  • The amount of holiday cards sent out every year could fill a ten-story football stadium.
    • Suggestion: send seasonal greetings through e-mail to reduce waste.
  • Most mass-produced holiday wrapping paper CANNOT by recycled.
    • Suggestion: use newspaper or old wallpaper as wrapping, or better yet, give a gift of your time or a donation to a charity, bypassing the gift wrap altogether!
  • One string of LED decorative lights uses on average 90% less energy than traditional lights.
(Submitted December 2009)
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Happy Holidays Green Reminders

  • Over 60 years of life, it is estimated that the average conifer tree will absorb 1 TON of Carbon Dioxide.
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of an artificial tree to that below a living tree takes 20 years of re-use.
    • Suggestion: buy a potted tree that can be replanted after the holidays; if you do get a cut tree, find your local after Christmas tree recycling facility.
  • The amount of holiday cards sent out every year could fill a ten-story football stadium.
    • Suggestion: send seasonal greetings through e-mail to reduce waste.
  • Most mass-produced holiday wrapping paper CANNOT by recycled.
    • Suggestion: use newspaper or old wallpaper as wrapping, or better yet, give a gift of your time or a donation to a charity, bypassing the gift wrap altogether!
  • One string of LED decorative lights uses on average 90% less energy than traditional lights.
(Submitted December 2009)
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U.S. Solar Market to Double by 2011; New Projects Will Support at Least 50,000 New Jobs and Over $6.1B in Annual Investment

Growth in Nevada, New Jersey and Arizona will diversify the U.S. Solar Market. Utility-scale projects represent the largest market opportunity and the United States is on pace to dominate the global solar PV market, according to a recent report by GTM Research.

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PG&E gets OK for space-based solar project

The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a space-based renewable energy contract for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in an effort to move the state a step closer to meeting its renewable energy goals.

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Largest solar energy building unveiled

The world's largest solar energy office building opened on November 27 in Dezhou, Shangdong Province in northwest China. The building, which has a total area of 75,000 square meters, features exhibition centers, scientific research facilities, meeting and training facilities, and a hotel.

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USGBC Arizona Chapter + Southern Branch Annual Meeting

Recuperate from and reminisce about Greenbuild 2009. Learn about the State of the Chapter and Southern Branch. Vote on minor changes to the Chapter and Branches' Bylaws. Welcome the incoming executive leadership of the Chapter and all four Branches. Enjoy an evening of revelry indoors or under the night sky!

For more information: www.usgbcaz.org/southern/2009

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Arizona Utilities

Arizona Corporation Commission reference documents

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Science benefits flow from stimulus: $13 million for Hybrid Solar-Electric Materials research

University of Arizona researchers snared more than $83 million of the $21.5 billion in stimulus funds designated for scientific research in the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, said Leslie Tolbert, UA vice president for research.

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SRP EarthWise Residential Solar Energy Program - Notice to Vendors - 2009-11-24

From: Earthwisesolar [mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.]
Sent: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 3:59 PM
Subject: SRP Meter Tampering

Meter Tampering

It has come to our attention that SRP meters are being removed without our knowledge.  We know these meters have been removed at some point in time because the seals on the meters are broken.  Although there have been significant advances in the safety and reliability of solar electric systems, this is a serious issue and can compromise the safety of your crews, our employees and the customer’s equipment. 

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Suntech to construct solar plant in Arizona

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd said on Sunday it would construct its first U.S. manufacturing plant in the state of Arizona, in a move to tap increasing demand for solar power in the United States.

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Phoenix makes it easy to go solar at home

A new program will allow about 1,000 Arizona Public Service Co. customers in Phoenix, including many low-income families, to put solar panels on their homes and cut their power bills without paying anything up front.

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Report: Tackling climate change nets 4.5 million jobs

Analysis by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and Management Information Services, Inc. (MISI) shows that renewable energy and energy efficiency can reduce U.S. carbon emissions 60-80%, generate millions of jobs and are revenue neutral or better.

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Pinnacle West Utility To Invest $500 Million In Solar Power

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Pinnacle West Capital Corp.'s (PNW) top executive said Wednesday the company's Arizona utility plans to invest at least $500 million over the next few years to develop solar-power generation and expand its rooftop solar program to include more residential customers.

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Arizona Air Force Base Community to Rely 75% on Solar

The Soaring Heights Community at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base will become the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S., upon completion, according to a press release.

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Solar Decathlon Team Leaders Celebrate UA's Success

As the Solar Decathlon winds down, University of Arizona students can now celebrate a successful competition, which has garnered the team national recognition.

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Owners shine light on solar experience

Valley homeowners who are harnessing the sun's energy and using other strategies to save resources will show their homes next weekend. The Solar & Sustainable Buildings Tour features 18 homes and buildings that use photovoltaic panels to produce electricity, solar water heaters, high-efficiency air-conditioners and natural lighting.

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Rep. Kirkpatrick Introduces Bill to Increase Available Capital for Small Businesses

Legislation Will Grow Renewable Energy Industry, Cut Red Tape for New Investment

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In these tough economic times, many small businesses are struggling to acquire the financial resources they need to succeed and grow. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, a member of the House Small Business Committee, is working hard to help them during the downturn and has introduced a bill to make it easier for them to access investment capital. A hearing was held today on H.R. 3722, which will reform two critical Small Business Administration (SBA) programs to more effectively serve our entrepreneurs.

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